ArticlePDF AvailableLiterature Review

Mind-Sets Matter: A Meta-Analytic Review of Implicit Theories and Self-Regulation

Abstract

This review builds on self-control theory (Carver & Scheier, 1998) to develop a theoretical framework for investigating associations of implicit theories with self-regulation. This framework conceptualizes self-regulation in terms of 3 crucial processes: goal setting, goal operating, and goal monitoring. In this meta-analysis, we included articles that reported a quantifiable assessment of implicit theories and at least 1 self-regulatory process or outcome. With a random effects approach used, meta-analytic results (total unique N = 28,217; k = 113) across diverse achievement domains (68% academic) and populations (age range = 5-42; 10 different nationalities; 58% from United States; 44% female) demonstrated that implicit theories predict distinct self-regulatory processes, which, in turn, predict goal achievement. Incremental theories, which, in contrast to entity theories, are characterized by the belief that human attributes are malleable rather than fixed, significantly predicted goal setting (performance goals, r = -.151; learning goals, r = .187), goal operating (helpless-oriented strategies, r = -.238; mastery-oriented strategies, r = .227), and goal monitoring (negative emotions, r = -.233; expectations, r = .157). The effects for goal setting and goal operating were stronger in the presence (vs. absence) of ego threats such as failure feedback. Discussion emphasizes how the present theoretical analysis merges an implicit theory perspective with self-control theory to advance scholarship and unlock major new directions for basic and applied research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
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... Die Überzeugungen von Personen, inwieweit menschliche Eigenschaften und Fähigkeiten veränderbar oder stabil sind, kann sich entscheidend auf deren lern-und leistungsbezogenes Verhalten auswirken (siehe Burnette et al. 2013). Der Ansatz von Carol Dweck (siehe Dweck und Leggett 1988;Dweck 2000; für einen historischen Abriss des Ansatzes und dessen Wurzeln siehe Dweck und Yeager 2019) systematisiert solche Überzeugungen unter dem Begriff der impliziten Theorien (welche auch als Mindsets bezeichnet werden; siehe Lüftenegger und Chen 2017). ...
... Zahlreiche Untersuchungen zeigen, dass sich eine Wachstumstheorie hinsichtlich Fähigkeiten günstig auf lern-und leistungsbezogenes Verhalten auswirkt, während eine Entitätstheorie eher ungünstige Auswirkungen zeigt (siehe Burnette et al. 2013, sowie Dweck und Master 2008. Beispielsweise neigen Entitätstheoretiker/-innen im Vergleich zu Wachstumstheoretikerinnen und Wachstumstheoretikern eher dazu, Rückschläge als Zeichen für Fähigkeitsdefizite zu werten (Robins und Pals 2002) und Anstrengung als Zeichen fehlender Fähigkeiten (Tempelaar et al. 2015), weshalb sie häufig weniger Anstrengung investieren (Cury et al. 2008;Rickert et al. 2014), lernförderlichen Herausforderungen eher aus dem Weg gehen (Hong et al. 1999;Nussbaum und Dweck 2008) und auf Rückschläge häufig mit Vermeidungsverhalten reagieren (Blackwell et al. 2007;Robins und Pals 2002;Smiley et al. 2016) -anstatt zu versuchen, diese Rückschläge zu überwinden (Dresel et al. 2013;Jones et al. 2012). ...
... Dafür wurde in den Datenbanken PsycINFO, PSYNDEX und ERIC für den Zeitraum von 1990 bis 2021 nach Zeitschriftenartikeln gesucht. Die Suchkriterien bestanden darin, dass sowohl (a) der Titel mindestens einen der beiden Textbausteine parent* oder mother* enthalten musste (der Asterisk steht dabei für beliebig viele weitere Zeichen, wodurch auch Begriffe wie parental, parents oder mothers abgedeckt werden sollten), als auch (b) das Abstract mindestens einen der Textbausteine implicit theor*, mindset*, incremental, entity, fixed* oder malleab* enthalten musste (ähnlich den Suchbegriffen, die Burnette et al. 2013 Von den ursprünglich 604 Artikeln blieben nach dieser Vorauswahl anhand des Titels noch 32 Artikel übrig, deren Relevanz gemäß den oben genannten Kriterien anschließend anhand des Abstracts und wenn nötig anhand des Methodenteils überprüft wurde. Anschließend wurde geprüft, ob die verbleibenden Artikel methodische Mindeststandards erfüllten, also ob die relevanten Variablen mit validen Skalen oder Verfahren erfasst und die entsprechenden Zusammenhänge berichtet wurden. ...
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Während implizite Theorien (auch bekannt als Mindsets) von Lernenden sowie deren Zusammenhänge mit Lern- und Leistungsverhalten sehr umfassend untersucht wurden, gibt es nur wenige Studien zu impliziten Theorien von Eltern und deren Zusammenhängen mit elterlichem lernbezogenen Verhalten sowie den impliziten Theorien und dem Lern- und Leistungsverhalten ihrer Kinder. Zudem ist wenig über die genauen Wirkmechanismen bekannt sowie über die Bedingungen, unter denen elterliche implizite Theorien elterliches Verhalten vorhersagen. Der vorliegende Beitrag gibt einen systematischen Überblick über Studien zu diesen Themen. Hierfür wurde in verschiedenen Datenbanken eine systematische Literaturrecherche nach relevanten Artikeln aus Fachzeitschriften durchgeführt, die zwischen 1990 und 2021 veröffentlicht worden waren. Bei dieser Recherche konnten insgesamt 11 passende Artikel identifiziert werden, deren Befunde gegliedert nach den untersuchten Bereichen dargestellt werden. Neben Befunden zu elterlichen impliziten Theorien und ihren Zusammenhängen mit deren lernbezogenem Verhalten sowie den impliziten Theorien und dem Lern- und Leistungsverhalten ihrer Kinder werden vermittelnde Mechanismen diskutiert und es wird thematisiert, unter welchen Rahmenbedingungen implizite Theorien von Eltern besonders relevant erscheinen. Basierend darauf werden Forschungslücken aufgezeigt und theoretische und praktische Implikationen herausgearbeitet.
... We first investigate how broad dispositional antecedents (i.e., workmastery, competitiveness, fear of failure, and fixed mindset) predict domain-general MAP goals in school learning. The four antecedents have received extensive theoretical and empirical support (Burnette et al., 2013;Dweck, 1999;Elliot, 1999;Elliot & Hulleman, 2017). Next, we examine the associations between MAP goals and three sets of their consequences (i.e., taskspecific [domain-specific] motivational, achievement-related, and well-being outcomes), controlling for the four proposed antecedents and individual-level background covariates. ...
... Unfortunately, incremental and entity beliefs are often conceptualized as opposite ends of a single continuum, and fixed mindset scales are widely used to measure growth mindset by reversing scores of the scales in empirical studies (Yeager et al., 2016(Yeager et al., , 2019; see also metaanalyses, Burnette et al., 2013;Sisk et al., 2018). Measuring implicit theories with a fixed, rather than growth, mindset measure has advantages regarding avoiding social desirability. ...
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Mastery-approach (MAP) goals, focusing on developing competence and acquiring task mastery, are posited to be the most optimal, beneficial type of achievement goal for academic and life outcomes. Although there is meta-analytic evidence supporting this finding, such evidence does not allow us to conclude that the extant MAP goal findings generalize across cultures. Meta-analyses have often suffered from overrepresentation of Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic (WEIRD) samples; reliance on bivariate correlations; and lack the ability to directly control individual-level background variables. To address these limitations, this study used nationally representative data from 77 countries/regions (N = 595,444 adolescents) to examine the relations of MAP goals to four antecedents (workmastery, competitiveness, fear of failure, fixed mindset) and 16 consequences (task-specific motivational, achievement-related, and well-being outcomes), and tested the cross-cultural generalizability of these relations. Results showed that MAP goals were: (a) grounded primarily in positive but not negative achievement motives/beliefs; (b) most strongly predictive of well-being outcomes, followed by adaptive motivation; (c) positively but consistently weakly associated with achievement-related outcomes, particularly for academic performance (β = .069); (d) negatively and weakly associated with maladaptive outcomes; and (e) uniquely predictive of various consequences, controlling for the antecedents and covariates. Further, the MAP goal predictions were generalizable across countries/regions for 13 of 16 consequences. While directions of effect sizes were slightly mixed for academic performance, perceived reading, and PISA test difficulty, the effect sizes were consistently small for most countries/regions. This generalizability points to quite strong cross-cultural support for the observed patterns. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
... Also, the belief for effort as evidence of low intelligence and ability is present in both impostors (Clance & O'Toole, 1987) and entity theorists (Miele et al., 2013). Individuals with a fixed mindset exhibit a performance-goal orientation (Dweck & Leggett, 1988), leading to an increased expression in impression management (Burnette et al., 2013). The result is an inhibited perception of learning opportunities and the avoidance of performance situations (Dinger et al., 2013). ...
... Lastly, future research could include actual performance in achievement tasks as a control variable to account for intentionally reduced effort as a performance-avoidance strategy (Burnette et al., 2013) and gain insights into the influence of the IP and mindset on performance. ...
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The Impostor Phenomenon describes people characterized by a non-self-serving attributional bias towards success. In this experimental between-subjects design, we conducted a bogus intelligence test in which each subject was assigned to a positive or negative feedback condition. Our sample consisted of N=170 individuals (51% female). The results showed that the impostor expression moderates the influence of feedback on locus of causality and stability attribution. ‘Impos- tors’ show an external-instable attributional style regarding success and an internal-stable attributional style regarding failure. Therefore, the relationship between the impostor expression and its characteristic attribution patterns could be experimentally validated for the first time. In addition, we investigated whether the IP is linked to the performance-related construct mindset. We found a positive correlation between the IP and fixed mindset. Possible causes for these findings are discussed.
... Moreover, when using retrospective assessment of stress and coping responses after a goal blockage in non-longitudinal designs, memory biases associated with goal regulation processes could occur (Kensinger & Ford, 2020). Even in studies that experimentally induce performance goals, knowledge and beliefs about one's abilities could influence not only the subjective attainability and desirability of that goal, but also the perception of and response to obstacles in the pursuit of that goal (e.g., Ajzen & Kruglanski, 2019; Burnette et al., 2013). Hence, in order to causally investigate goal disengagement as a reaction to goal blockage, studies should experimentally vary goal blockage and examine its consequences regarding goal disengagement prospectively. ...
... Another aspect for future research concerns considering individual differences in the capacity to disengage. Previous theories and findings suggest that individual factors (such as dispositions or learning history) contribute to self-regulation and thus also to whether or not a person disengages from a blocked goal in a given situation (e.g., Burnette et al., 2013;Heckhausen & Wrosch, 2016). This is also reflected in the high variability of goal desirability change in the present study. ...
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In the present research, the Cyberball ostracism paradigm was adapted for experimental goal disengagement (GD) research: the goal to belong to a particular group is first induced in participants (via social interaction) and then blocked (via social exclusion) to trigger GD processes. In an online group setting, we experimentally tested the procedure’s suitability to investigate goal disengagement processes. A pilot study demonstrated successful induction of the goal to belong. In the main study ( N = 180), exclusion from the group reduced participants’ perceived goal attainability (indicating goal blockage) and desirability (indicating goal disengagement) and their well-being. Regarding the regulatory functions of GD, results were mixed. During work on individual tasks, goal desirability decreased further and well-being was largely restored. However, GD changes were correlated only with changes in negative affect (and not other well-being measures). Findings suggest the procedure’s suitability for studying GD experimentally and employing it to investigate other measures of GD processes and their functionality in more detail.
... They note that their estimated effect is within the confidence interval of their prior work (Burnette et al., 2013). ...
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Public significance statement When people consider an idea, policy, or theoretical claim, they often reason based on a gut sense that it feels right or does not. This gut feeling can be triggered by things external to whether the idea, policy, or claim really is right, including how familiar it seems. People have blind spots for the reasons behind their gut feelings so we outline ways scientists should go about testing and reporting to increase the chance that scientists and the public focus on the evidence and not gut based feelings.
... [7] In congruence, students who presented with fixed mindsets were more focused on unhealthy competition with peers, proving their competence, and were noted to avoid making mistakes. [8] Additional research has shown the benefit of having a growth mindset at both the primary/secondary and higher education levels. At the primary/secondary level, Andersen and Neilsen (2016) [9] discovered that children whose parents presented with fixed mindsets had lower reading scores than those whose parents promoted a growth mindset, even after controlling for socioeconomic status. ...
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Background/aims: Recent research on mindsets has shifted from understanding its homogenous role on performance to understanding how classroom environments explain its heterogeneous effects (i.e., Mindsets × Context hypothesis). Does the macro context (e.g., societal level of student mindsets) also help explain its heterogeneous effects? And does this interaction effect also apply to understanding students' well-being? To address these questions, we examined whether and how the role of students' mindsets in performance (math, science, reading) and well-being (meaning in life, positive affect, life satisfaction) depends on the societal-mindset norms (i.e., Mindsets × Societal Norm effect). Sample/methods: We analysed a global data set (n = 612,004 adolescents in 78 societies) using multilevel analysis. The societal norm of student mindsets was the average score derived from students within each society. Results: Growth mindsets positively and weakly predicted all performance outcomes (rs = .192, .210, .224), but the associations were significantly stronger in societies with growth-mindset norms. In contrast, the associations between growth mindsets and psychological well-being were very weak and inconsistent (rs = -.066, .003, .008). Importantly, the association was negative in societies with fixed-mindset norms but positive in societies with growth-mindset norms. Conclusions: These findings challenge the idea that growth mindsets have ubiquitous positive effects in all societies. Growth mindsets might be ineffective or even detrimental in societies with fixed-mindset norms because such societal norms could suppress the potential of students with growth mindsets and undermines their well-being. Researchers should take societal norms into consideration in their efforts to understand and foster students' growth.
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The concept of a professional skills and abilities mindset denotes beliefs that professional skills and abilities are either malleable (growth mindset) or are uncontrollable and difficult to change (fixed mindset). Based on the career construction theory, we argue that employees’ professional skills and abilities mindset represents an indicator of adaptive readiness that predicts career adaptability and adaptive responses in terms of learning and career engagement. Across four studies (total N = 709), we developed the 6-item professional skills and abilities mindset scale. Study 1 establishes a two-factor structure, satisfactory psychometric properties, and convergent validity. Studies 2 and 3 provide evidence of the criterion validity of the growth but not the fixed mindset subscale for career engagement and learning through career adaptability. Study 4 establishes moderate retest reliability across four weeks. This research establishes a previously neglected predictor of career-related resources and behaviors. Findings can inform vocational consulting and coaching.
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Fixed and growth mindsets represent implicit theories about the nature of one's abilities or traits. The existing body of research on academic achievement and the effectiveness of mindset interventions for student learning largely relies on the premise that fixed and growth mindsets are mutually exclusive. This premise has led to the common practice in which measures of one mindset are reversed and then assumed to represent the other mindset. Focusing on K-12 and university students (N = 27328), we tested the validity of this practice via a comprehensive item-level meta-analysis of the Implicit Theories of Intelligence Scale (ITIS). By means of meta-analytic structural equation modeling and network analysis, we examined (a) the ITIS item-item correlations and their heterogeneity across 32 primary studies; (b) the factor structure of the ITIS, including the distinction between fixed and growth mindset; and (c) moderator effects of sample, study, and measurement characteristics. We found positive item-item correlations within the sets of fixed and growth mindset items, with substantial between-study heterogeneity. The ITIS factor structure comprised two moderately correlated mindset factors (ρ = 0.63–0.65), even after reversing one mindset scale. This structure was moderated by the educational level and origin of the student sample, the assessment mode, and scale modifications. Overall, we argue that fixed and growth mindsets are not mutually exclusive but correlated constructs. We discuss the implications for the assessment of implicit theories of intelligence in education.
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This study examined how self-beliefs, particularly reading mindset and self-efficacy, interact together to predict reading-specific achievement goals and engagement as well as reading achievement in fourth-grade students. Latent profile analysis identified three profiles (n = 206): Confident and Fixed Mindset, Moderately Confident and Neutral Mindset, and Confident and Growth Mindset. Compared to the Confident Growth Mindset profile, the Confident Fixed Mindset profile had higher performance goals and lower behavioural engagement and reading achievement. The Confident Fixed Mindset profile showed even lower reading achievement than the Moderately Confident and Neutral Mindset profile on school English/Language Arts grade and vocabulary performance. Lastly, the Confident Growth Mindset profile showed higher levels of behavioural and cognitive engagement than the Moderately Confident and Neutral Mindset profile. Overall, the effects of mindset supersede self-efficacy on reading-related outcomes, suggesting the importance of providing support that promotes a growth mindset before upper elementary students endorse a fixed mindset.
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C. Midgley et al. (2001) raised important questions about the effects of performance-approach goals. The present authors disagree with their characterization of the research findings and implications for theory. They discuss 3 reasons to revise goal theory: (a) the importance of separating approach from avoidance strivings, (b) the positive potential of performance-approach goals, and (c) identification of the ways performance-approach goals can combine with mastery goals to promote optimal motivation. The authors review theory and research to substantiate their claim that goal theory is in need of revision, and they endorse a multiple goal perspective. The revision of goal theory is underway and offers a more complex, but necessary, perspective on important issues of motivation, learning, and achievement.
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Two studies examined the relationship between undergraduates' perceptions of their classroom environment, their adoption of achievement goals for the course, and their graded performance and intrinsic motivation. Results revealed a distinct antecedent profile for each goal in the trichotomous framework: Mastery goals were linked to the presence of lecture engagement and the absence of an evaluation focus and harsh evaluation, performance-approach goals were linked to the presence of evaluation focus, and performance-avoidance goals were linked to the presence of evaluation focus and harsh evaluation. When the perceived classroom environment and achievement goal variables were tested together as predictors of graded performance and intrinsic motivation, the results clearly demonstrated that the influence of the perceived classroom environment on these outcomes measures was indirect; the perceived classroom environment influenced achievement goal adoption, and achievement goal adoption, in turn, directly influenced graded performance and intrinsic motivation.
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In this study we examine the role played by perceived goal importance and self-focus in the goal-setting process. More specifically, this study tests the interactive hypotheses that (a) task performance is a function of goal level, self-focus, and perceived goal importance; (b) goal level is a function of perceptions of past performance, self-focus, and perceived goal importance; and (c) perceptions of past performance are a function of actual past performance, self-focus, and perceived goal importance. Hierarchical regression analysis, using a sample of 88 retail salespersons, revealed empirical support for the first two hypotheses. Specifically, the variables described by control theory account for an increment of 6 and 8% of the variance explained in task performance and self-set goal level, respectively. Finally, implications for theory, practice, and future research are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This research sought to integrate C. S. Dweck and E. L. Leggett's (1988) model with attribution theory. Three studies tested the hypothesis that theories of intelligence-the belief that intelligence is malleable (incremental theory) versus fixed (entity theory)-would predict (and create) effort versus ability attributions, which would then mediate mastery-oriented coping. Study 1 revealed that, when given negative feedback, incremental theorists were more likely than entity theorists to attribute to effort. Studies 2 and 3 showed that incremental theorists were more likely than entity theorists to take remedial action if performance was unsatisfactory. Study 3, in which an entity or incremental theory was induced, showed that incremental theorists' remedial action was mediated by their effort attributions. These results suggest that implicit theories create the meaning framework in which attributions occur and are important for understanding motivation.