giovedì 24 marzo 2016


  • definizione. growth mindset is the belief that people who believe ability doesn’t matter and only effort determines success are more resilient, skillful, hard-working, perseverant in the face of failure, and better-in-a-bunch-of-other-ways than people who emphasize the importance of ability. Therefore, we can make everyone better off by telling them ability doesn’t matter and only hard work does.
  • Consider Dweck and Mueller 1998, one of the key studies in the area. 128 fifth-graders were asked to do various puzzles. First they did some easy ones and universally succeeded. The researchers praised them as follows: "All children were told that they had performed well on this problem set.... Some children were praised for their ability after the initial positive feedback: “You must be smart at these problems.” Some children were praised for their effort after the initial positive feedback: “You must have worked hard at these problems.” The remaining children were in the control condition and received no additional feedback"... And what happened? The children in the intelligence praise condition were much more likely to say at the end of the experiment that they thought intelligence was more important than effort (p < 0.001) than the children in the effort condition. When given the choice, 67% of the effort-condition children chose to set challenging learning-oriented goals, compared to only 8% (!) of the intelligence-condition.... Children in the intelligence condition were much less likely to persevere on a difficult task than children in the effort condition... Dweck  to separate children out into those who think effort is more important (“mastery-oriented”) and those who think ability is more important (“helpless”). Then she gave all of them impossible problems and watched them squirm... mastery-oriented tried harder after failure
  • This study is really weird. Everything is like 100% in one group versus 0% in another group. ...  Normally I would assume these results are falsified, but I have looked for all of the usual ways of falsifying results and I can’t find any. Also, the boldest falsifier in the world wouldn’t have the courage to put down numbers like these. And a meta-analysis of all growth mindset studies finds more modest, but still consistent, effects, and only a little bit of publication bias.
  • The whole field of attribution theory, which is intensely studied and which Dweck cites approvingly, says that attributing things to luck is a bad idea and attributing them to ability is, even if not as good as effort, pretty good. But Dweck finds that the kids who used ability attributions universally crashed and bomb, and the kids who attribute things to luck or the world being unfair do great.
  • I want to end by correcting a very important mistake about growth mindset that Dweck mostly avoids but which her partisans constantly commit egregiously. Take this article,... the article goes on to show how growth mindset proves talent is “a myth... Suppose... growth mindset is 100% true exactly as written..... This still would not provide an iota of evidence against the idea that innate talent / IQ / whatever is by far the most important factor determining success... Consider. We know from countless studies that strong religious belief increases your life expectancy, makes you happier, reduces your risk of depression and reduces crime. Clearly believing in, say, Christianity has lots of useful benefits. But no one would dare argue that proves Christianity true. It doesn’t even implyit.... Likewise, mindset theory suggests that believing intelligence to be mostly malleable has lots of useful benefits. That doesn’t mean intelligence really ismostly malleable.