Read about the research: How mindset affects learning

Children who understand that the brain can get smarter—who have a growth mindset—do better in school because they have an empowering perspective on learning. They focus on improvement and see effort as a way to build their abilities. They see failure as a natural part of the learning process. In contrast, students who have a fixed mindset—those who believe that intelligence is fixed—tend to focus on judgment. They're more concerned with proving that they are smart or hiding that they're not. And that means they tend to avoid situations in which they might fail or might have to work hard.

Many studies show that children who have a growth mindset respond differently in challenging situations and do better in school over time.

Nussbaum: Mindset and seeking feedback

In another study, researchers were interested in the kind of feedback people would seek out after they struggled. Researchers gave participants a difficult test and then told the participants that they hadn’t done well on the test. Then, they gave them a choice: Did they want to look at the tests of people who had done worse than them or the tests of people who had done better? People with a growth mindset chose to learn from people who had done better than them. But people with a fixed mindset seemed more interested in making themselves feel better. They looked at the tests of people who had done worse.

Nussbaum & Dweck (2008) [View Source]

Blackwell: Growth mindset leads to better math grades

A study with middle school students looked at the impact of fixed versus growth mindsets on achievement in math—a subject that many students find challenging. Students with a growth mindset earned higher math grades over time compared to students with a fixed mindset.

Blackwell, Trzesniewski, & Dweck (2007) [View Source]

Romero: Growth mindset and advanced class placement

Mindsets have also been shown to predict who takes more advanced courses. In a study with middle school students, those with a growth mindset were more likely to be placed into advanced math over time.

Romero et al. (2014) [View Source]

Mangels: Mindset affects learning from mistakes

A growth mindset focuses students on learning, rather than simply performing well. You can see this when you look inside the brain. In one study, scientists brought people into the lab. They put an EEG cap on their heads to measure how active their brains were. While scientists were measuring brain activation, they asked participants a trivia question. Participants gave their answer, and then the scientists told them if they were right or wrong. In other words, they were given performance feedback. The scientists found that the participants with a growth mindset and with a fixed mindset both had active brains when they were told whether they were right or wrong. So all participants paid attention to the performance feedback. What’s interesting is what happened next. Participants were told the correct answer. And again, the scientists looked at how active the participants’ brains were. The brains of people with a growth mindset were significantly more active than the brains of people with a fixed mindset. People with a fixed mindset were tuning out after they found out if they were right or wrong; they weren’t interested in learning the correct answer. At the end of the study, the scientists gave participants a pop quiz with the same trivia questions. Not surprisingly, the people with a growth mindset did better.

Mangels et al. (2006) [View Source]

Mueller & Dweck: How praise affects children's behavior

This video -The Effect of Praise on Mindsets- is from the book, "Mind in the Making: The Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs”.

Mueller & Dweck (1998) [View Source]

Gunderson et al.: Process praise and mindset development

In another study, researchers observed how parents praised their children at the ages of 1 to 3. Five years later, the researchers measured the children's mindsets. They found that the more parents used process praise when their children were 1 to -3-years-old, the more likely those children were to have a growth mindset 5 years later.

Gunderson et al. (2013) [View Source]

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