061: Can Growth Mindset live up to the hype?

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

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

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Gunderson, E.A., Gripshover, S.J., Romero, C., Dweck, C.S., Goldin-Meadow, S., & Levine, S.C. (2013). Parent praise to 1- to 3-year-olds predicts children’s motivational frameworks 5 years later. Child Development 84(5), 1526-1541.

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Paunesku, D., Walton, G.M., Romero, C., Smith, E.N., Yeager, D.S., & Dweck, C.S. (2015). Mind-set interventions are a scalable treatment for academic underachievement. Psychological Science 26(6), 784-793.

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