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Carol S. Dweck (born October 17, 1946) is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. She graduated from Barnard College in 1967 and earned a Ph.D. from Yale University in 1972. She taught at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the University of Illinois before joining the Stanford faculty in 2004.
Professor Dweck has primary research interests in motivation, personality, and development. She teaches courses in Personality and Social Development as well as Motivation. Her key contribution to social psychology relates to implicit theories of intelligence. This is present in her book entitled Mindset: The New Psychology of Success which was published in 2006. According to Dweck, individuals can be placed on a continuum according to their implicit views of where ability comes from. Some believe their success is based on innate ability; these are said to have a "fixed" theory of intelligence (fixed mindset). Others, who believe their success is based on hard work, learning, training and doggedness are said to have a "growth" or an "incremental" theory of intelligence (growth mindset). Individuals may not necessarily be aware of their own mindset, but their mindset can still be discerned based on their behavior. It is especially evident in their reaction to failure. Fixed-mindset individuals dread failure because it is a negative statement on their basic abilities, while growth mindset individuals don't mind or fear failure as much because they realize their performance can be improved and learning comes from failure. These two mindsets play an important role in all aspects of a person's life. Dweck argues that the growth mindset will allow a person to live a less stressful and more successful life. Dweck's definition of fixed and growth mindsets from a 2012 interview:
"In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that's that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don't necessarily think everyone's the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it."
This is important because (1) individuals with a "growth" theory are more likely to continue working hard despite setbacks and (2) individuals' theories of intelligence can be affected by subtle environmental cues. For example, children given praise such as "good job, you're very smart" are much more likely to develop a fixed mindset, whereas if given compliments like "good job, you worked very hard" they are likely to develop a growth mindset. In other words, it is possible to encourage students, for example, to persist despite failure by encouraging them to think about learning in a certain way.
- Dweck, C. S. (2012). Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential. Constable & Robinson Limited.
- Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Random House.
- Dweck, C. S. (1999). Self-theories: Their role in motivation, personality and development. Philadelphia: Psychology Press.
- Elliot, A. J., & Dweck, C. S. (Eds.). (2005). Handbook of competence and motivation. New York: Guilford.
- Heckhausen, J., & Dweck, C. S. (Eds.). (1998). Motivation and self-regulation across the life span. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
- New York Times, Unboxed: If You’re Open to Growth, You Tend to Grow, July 6, 2008.
- Stanford News Service press release: Fixed versus growth intelligence mindsets: It's all in your head, Dweck says
- Lisa Trei, "New study yields instructive results on how mindset affects learning", Stanford Report, Feb. 7, 2007
- Indiana University Human Intelligence project profile
- Columbia University curriculum vitae
- Dweck, C.S., & Bempechat, J. (1983). Children’s theories of intelligence: Implications for learning. In S. Paris, G. Olson, and H. Stevenson (Eds.) Learning and motivation in children. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
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- http://www-psych.stanford.edu/~dweck Carol S. Dweck, Department of Psychology, Stanford University
- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-13128701 The words that could unlock your child, BBC News, 19th April 2011
- PMID 17392928 (PMID 17392928)
- PMID 20876879 (PMID 20876879)
- PMID 18444737 (PMID 18444737)
- Stanford University’s Carol Dweck on the Growth Mindset and Education. OneDublin.org.