061: Can Growth Mindset live up to the hype?
Published April 9, 2018
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44 min
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    Growth mindset is everywhere these days.  Dr. Carol Dweck's research showing that a growth mindset can help children to overcome academic struggles is being incorporated to curriculum planning across the U.S. and in many other countries, and school districts in California are even using it to evaluate schools' performance.  I get ads popping up in my Facebook feed every day for a journal that helps children to develop a growth mindset, and judging from the comments those folks selling the journal are doing very nicely for themselves.

    Which means that the science underlying the idea of growth mindset must be rock solid, right?

    Well, perhaps you might be surprised (or not, if you're a regular listener) to know that this actually isn't the case.  The main study on which the entire growth mindset theory is based has never been replicated, which is the gold standard for considering whether an effect that was found in a study is really real.  And a variety of subsequent studies supporting the findings of the original one were either so tiny as to be not useful or failed to find any relevant effect (although in some cases they went on to report their findings as if they did...).

    We'll tease all this out in the episode, and will discuss whether growth mindset is something worth fostering in your child.



     

    Other shows mentioned in this episode

    Don't bother trying to increase your child's self-esteem

    Do you punish your child with rewards?

     

    References

    Adams, J.M. (2014, May 5). Measuring a ‘growth mindset in a new school accountability system. Edsource. Retrieved from https://edsource.org/2014/measuring-a-growth-mindset-in-a-new-school-accountability-system/63557

    Bandura, A. (1981). Self-referent thought: A developmental analysis of self-efficacy. In J.H. Flavell & L. Ross (Eds.), Social cognitive development: Frontiers and possible futures. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

    Baumeister, R.F., Campbell, J.D., Krueger, J.I., & Vohs, K.D. (2003). Does high self-esteem cause better performance, interpersonal success, happiness, or healthier lifestyles? Psychological Science in the Public Interest 4(1), 1-44.

    Boykin, A.W., Albury, A., Tyler, K.M., Hurley, E.A., Bailey, C.T., & Miller, O.A. (2005). Culture-based perceptions of academic achievement among low-income elementary students. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology 11, 339-50.

    Briggs, D.C. (1970). Your child’s self-esteem. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.

    Brown, N. (2017, January 14). In which science actually self-corrects, for once. Retrieved from http://steamtraen.blogspot.fr/2017/01/in-which-science-actually-self-corrects.html

    Burnette, J.L., VanEpps, E.M., O’Boyle, E.H., Pollack, J.M., & Finkel, E.J. (2013). Mind-sets matter: A meta-analytic review of implicit theories and self-regulation. Psychological Bulletin 139(3), 655-701.

    Chivers, T. (2017, January 14). A mindset “revolution” sweeping Britain’s classes may be based on shaky science. BuzzFeed. Retrieved from https://www.buzzfeed.com/tomchivers/what-is-your-mindset?utm_term=.oo0Razv2n#.ht5JOoZv9

    Cimpian, A., Mu, Y., & Erickson, L.C. (2012). Who is good at this game? Linking an activity to a social category undermines children’s achievement. Psychological Science 23(5), 533-541.

    Claro, S., Paunesku, D., & Dweck, C.S. (2016). Growth mindset tempers the effects of poverty on academic mindset. PNAS 113(31), 8664-8668.

    Diener, C.I., & Dweck, C.S. (1978). An analysis of learned helplessness: Continuous changes in performance,
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