Gregory M Walton

Gregory M Walton
Stanford University | SU · Department of Psychology

About

61
Publications
82,546
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8,706
Citations
Citations since 2017
27 Research Items
6416 Citations
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201720182019202020212022202302004006008001,0001,200

Publications

Publications (61)
Article
Full-text available
The contributed papers in this special issue each provide valuable perspectives on how social processes are relevant to academic motivation. Yet a critical question remains: How can this research lead to concrete guidance for educators who wish to create motivating and equitable classrooms? We propose this complex task can be simplified by encourag...
Article
It is well known that norms influence behavior. Beyond simply shaping what people do, we argue that norms constrain what behaviors even come to mind as options, effectively excluding counternormative behaviors from consideration. We test this hypothesis across five primary and multiple supplementary studies using diverse methods (Ntotal = 5,488). I...
Article
Full-text available
It has become common practice to conceptualize bias as an automatic response, cultivated through exposure to bias in society. From this perspective, combating bias requires reducing a proclivity for bias within individuals, as in many implicit-bias training efforts common in schools and corporations. We introduce an alternative approach that begins...
Article
Full-text available
Recently, defaults have become celebrated as a low-cost and easy-to-implement nudge for promoting positive outcomes, both at an individual and societal level. In the present research, we conducted a large-scale field experiment ( N = 32,508) in an educational context to test the effectiveness of a default intervention in promoting participation in...
Article
Full-text available
Suspensions remove students from the learning environment at high rates throughout the United States. Policy and theory highlight social groups that face disproportionately high suspension rates-racial-minoritized students, students with a prior suspension, and students with disabilities. We used an active placebo-controlled, longitudinal field exp...
Article
Full-text available
A growth-mindset intervention teaches the belief that intellectual abilities can be developed. Where does the intervention work best? Prior research examined school-level moderators using data from the National Study of Learning Mindsets (NSLM), which delivered a short growth-mindset intervention during the first year of high school. In the present...
Preprint
Suspensions remove students from the learning environment at high rates throughout the United States. Policy and theory highlight social groups that face disproportionately high suspension rates—racial-minoritized students, students with a prior suspension, and students with disabilities. We used an active placebo-controlled, longitudinal field-exp...
Article
When children return to school from juvenile detention, they face a severe stigma. We developed a procedure to orient educators and students toward each other as positive relationship partners during this period. In Study 1, through a structured exercise, students reentering school powerfully articulated to an educator of their choosing their proso...
Article
Full-text available
Values‐affirmation interventions have the potential to improve students’ experience and achievement in school. Researchers have proposed that these benefits are greatest when affirmation exercises are delivered by teachers (versus researchers). The current research provides an experimental test of whether describing affirmation activities as provid...
Article
Full-text available
Developmental systems theory and life span development describe the role of individual-context interactions in individual development but have not directly addressed how individuals pursue achievement goals in institutional contexts. We developed a theory informed by these perspectives that explains how institutional contexts affect emerging adults...
Preprint
Does holding a growth mindset prevent people from experiencing potentially negative or maladaptive thoughts and feelings following academic setbacks? Not necessarily: In our Hungarian sample, a culture high in negative affect, three-fourths of people who endorsed a growth mindset at a maximum level nonetheless reported at least sometimes being judg...
Article
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Broad-access institutions play a democratizing role in American society, opening doors to many who might not otherwise pursue college. Yet these institutions struggle with persistence and completion. Do feelings of nonbelonging play a role, particularly for students from groups historically disadvantaged in higher education? Is belonging relevant t...
Article
Full-text available
Could mitigating persistent worries about belonging in the transition to college improve adult life for black Americans? To examine this question, we conducted a long-term follow-up of a randomized social-belonging intervention delivered in the first year of college. This 1-hour exercise represented social and academic adversity early in college as...
Article
Full-text available
Here we evaluate the potential for growth mindset interventions (which teach students that intellectual abilities can be developed) to inspire adolescents to be “learners”—that is, to seek out challenging learning experiences. In a previous analysis, the U.S. National Study of Learning Mindsets (NSLM) showed that a growth mindset could improve the...
Article
Full-text available
Psychologically “wise” interventions can cause lasting improvement in key aspects of people’s lives, but where will they work and where will they not? We consider the psychological affordance of the social context: Does the context in which the intervention is delivered afford the way of thinking offered by the intervention? If not, treatment effec...
Article
Children's tendency to delay gratification predicts important life outcomes, yet little is known about how to enhance delay of gratification other than by teaching task‐specific strategies. The present research investigated the effect of exposing children to a model who experiences the exertion of willpower as energizing. In two experiments, 86 4‐5...
Article
Full-text available
A global priority for the behavioural sciences is to develop cost-effective, scalable interventions that could improve the academic outcomes of adolescents at a population level, but no such interventions have so far been evaluated in a population-generalizable sample. Here we show that a short (less than one hour), online growth mindset interventi...
Article
Full-text available
High rates of discipline citations predict adverse life outcomes, a harm disproportionately borne by Black and Latino boys. We hypothesized that these citations arise in part from negative cycles of interaction between students and teachers, which unfold in contexts of social stereotypes. Can targeted interventions to facilitate identity safety-a s...
Article
People are often told to find their passion, as though passions and interests are preformed and must simply be discovered. This idea, however, has hidden motivational implications. Five studies examined implicit theories of interest—the idea that personal interests are relatively fixed (fixed theory) or developed (growth theory). Whether assessed o...
Article
Light-touch social psychological interventions have gained considerable attention for their potential to improve academic outcomes for underrepresented and/or disadvantaged students in postsecondary education. While findings from previous interventions have demonstrated positive effects for racial and ethnic minority and first-generation students i...
Chapter
The present chapter explores the hypothesis that an important influence on interest is the perceived or subjective social context in which a task is completed—the perception of the relationship between the self, a task, and other people engaged in the task. We call this the triadic relationship in which a task is completed. We theorize that this tr...
Chapter
Why do people sometimes fail to regulate their behavior effectively to accomplish their goals? How can they do better? This chapter explores the role of prominent beliefs in society about the nature of willpower, and how these beliefs shape self-regulation. Social factors can convey, and people can believe, that self-control relies on a limited res...
Article
Full-text available
Past research finds that people behave as though the particular qualities of specific, strongly valenced individuals “rub off” on objects. People thus value a sweater worn by George Clooney but are disgusted by one worn by Hitler. We hypothesized that social traces of generic humans can also adhere to objects, increasing their value. Experiments 1...
Article
Full-text available
There are many promising psychological interventions on the horizon, but there is no clear methodology for preparing them to be scaled up. Drawing on design thinking, the present research formalizes a methodology for redesigning and tailoring initial interventions. We test the methodology using the case of fixed versus growth mindsets during the tr...
Article
Can social–psychological theory provide insight into the extreme racial disparities in school disciplinary action in the United States? Disciplinary problems carry enormous consequences for the quality of students’ experience in school, opportunities to learn, and ultimate life outcomes. This burden falls disproportionately on students of color. In...
Article
Full-text available
Significance There is increasing concern about rising discipline citations in K–12 schooling and a lack of means to reduce them. Predominant theories characterize this problem as the result of punitive discipline policies (e.g., zero-tolerance policies), teachers’ lack of interpersonal skills, or students’ lack of self-control or social–emotional s...
Article
Full-text available
The efficacy of academic-mind-set interventions has been demonstrated by small-scale, proof-of-concept interventions, generally delivered in person in one school at a time. Whether this approach could be a practical way to raise school achievement on a large scale remains unknown. We therefore delivered brief growth-mind-set and sense-of-purpose in...
Article
Full-text available
Laboratory research shows that when people believe that willpower is an abundant (rather than highly limited) resource they exhibit better self-control after demanding tasks. However, some have questioned whether this "nonlimited" theory leads to squandering of resources and worse outcomes in everyday life when demands on self-regulation are high....
Article
A new generation of social science research creates new opportunities to increase fairness and reduce racial inequality in education. This research raises important questions for antidiscrimination law. Over the past twenty years, research conducted around the world has established that for students subject to pervasive negative intellectual stereo...
Article
What psychological mechanisms facilitate social coordination and cooperation? The present research examined the hypothesis that social cues that signal an opportunity to work with others can fuel intrinsic motivation even when people work alone. Holding constant other factors, participants exposed to cues of working together persisted longer on a c...
Article
Can a subtle linguistic cue that invokes the self motivate children to help? In two experiments, 3- to 6-year-old children (N = 149) were exposed to the idea of “being a helper” (noun condition) or “helping” (verb condition). Noun wording fosters the perception that a behavior reflects an identity—the kind of person one is. Both when children inter...
Article
In a randomized-controlled trial, we tested 2 brief interventions designed to mitigate the effects of a "chilly climate" women may experience in engineering, especially in male-dominated fields. Participants were students entering a selective university engineering program. The social-belonging intervention aimed to protect students' sense of belon...
Article
Collaborating on challenging endeavors is a foundation of human society. Recent research suggests that young children are not only motivated to cooperate with others-for instance, to help others accomplish their goals-but may also be motivated to collaborate with others-to pursue shared goals. However, a primary reason why collaboration is so impor...
Article
Full-text available
Significance The present research provides critical new findings about the role of glucose ingestion in self-control and cognitive performance. It argues against the popular view that self-control depends on a limited physiological resource (blood glucose) that is depleted by even brief acts of self-control and is restored by glucose consumption. I...
Article
Full-text available
Marital quality is a major contributor to happiness and health. Unfortunately, marital quality normatively declines over time. We tested whether a novel 21-min intervention designed to foster the reappraisal of marital conflicts could preserve marital quality in a sample of 120 couples enrolled in an intensive 2-year study. Half of the couples were...
Article
Three experiments (N = 130) used a minimal group manipulation to show that just perceived membership in a social group boosts young children's motivation for and learning from group-relevant tasks. In Experiment 1, 4-year-old children assigned to a minimal "puzzles group" persisted longer on a challenging puzzle than children identified as the "puz...
Article
Full-text available
Building cognitive abilities often requires sustained engagement with effortful tasks. We demonstrate that beliefs about willpower-whether willpower is viewed as a limited or non-limited resource-impact sustained learning on a strenuous mental task. As predicted, beliefs about willpower did not affect accuracy or improvement during the initial phas...
Data
Limited and non-limited questionnaire items. (DOCX)
Data
Growth curve analysis methods. (DOCX)
Data
Limited and non-limited questionnaire responses. The distribution of responses for the limited and non-limited willpower questionnaires. Both groups indicated overall agreement with the questionnaires. (DOCX)
Article
Four experiments examined the effect on achievement motivation of mere belonging, a minimal social connection to another person or group in a performance domain. Mere belonging was expected to increase motivation by creating socially shared goals around a performance task. Participants were led to believe that an endeavor provided opportunities for...
Article
Social-psychological research conducted over the past 15 years provides compelling evidence that pervasive psychological threats are present in common academic environments—especially threats that originate in negative intellectual stereotypes—and that these threats undermine the real-world academic performance of non-Asian ethnic minority students...
Article
Three randomized experiments found that subtle linguistic cues have the power to increase voting and related behavior. The phrasing of survey items was varied to frame voting either as the enactment of a personal identity (e.g., "being a voter") or as simply a behavior (e.g., "voting"). As predicted, the personal-identity phrasing significantly inc...
Article
Two experiments tested whether stereotype threat can undermine the acquisition of academic knowledge and thus harm performance even in nonthreatening settings. In Experiment 1, Black and White students studied rare words in either nonthreatening or threatening conditions. One to two weeks later, participants recalled word definitions, half in a non...
Article
Two experiments tested the hypothesis that cues of social connectedness could lead even new interaction partners to experience shared emotional and physiological states. In Experiment 1, a confederate prepared for a stress-inducing task. Participants who had been led to feel socially connected to the confederate reported feeling greater stress than...
Article
Full-text available
A brief intervention aimed at buttressing college freshmen's sense of social belonging in school was tested in a randomized controlled trial (N = 92), and its academic and health-related consequences over 3 years are reported. The intervention aimed to lessen psychological perceptions of threat on campus by framing social adversity as common and tr...
Article
Full-text available
Much recent research suggests that willpower—the capacity to exert self-control—is a limited resource that is depleted after exertion. We propose that whether depletion takes place or not depends on a person’s belief about whether willpower is a limited resource. Study 1 found that individual differences in lay theories about willpower moderate ego...
Article
Full-text available
Reports an error in "Interacting with sexist men triggers social identity threat among female engineers" by Christine Logel, Gregory M. Walton, Steven J. Spencer, Emma C. Iserman, William von Hippel and Amy E. Bell (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2009[Jun], Vol 96[6], 1089-1103). The affiliation for William von Hippel is incorrect. T...
Article
Past research has assumed that group differences in academic performance entirely reflect genuine differences in ability. In contrast, extending research on stereotype threat, we suggest that standard measures of academic performance are biased against non-Asian ethnic minorities and against women in quantitative fields. This bias results not from...
Article
Full-text available
Social identity threat is the notion that one of a person's many social identities may be at risk of being devalued in a particular context (C. M. Steele, S. J. Spencer, & J. Aronson, 2002). The authors suggest that in domains in which women are already negatively stereotyped, interacting with a sexist man can trigger social identity threat, underm...
Article
We suggest that psychologists can play a larger role in the solution of important social problems. Psychology brings two important qualities to the study of social problems: attention to psychological process and rigorous methodology. Our key task is to define social problems in part as psychological problems, and to conduct rigorous research that...
Article
Stigmatization can give rise to belonging uncertainty. In this state, people are sensitive to information diagnostic of the quality of their social connections. Two experiments tested how belonging uncertainty undermines the motivation and achievement of people whose group is negatively characterized in academic settings. In Experiment 1, students...
Article
When a negative stereotype impugns the ability or worth of an outgroup, people may experience stereotype lift—a performance boost that occurs when downward comparisons are made with a denigrated outgroup. In a meta-analytic review, members of non-stereotyped groups were found to perform better when a negative stereotype about an outgroup was linked...
Article
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Yale University, 2005. Microfilm. s

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