The Application of Implicit Theories to Mental Health Symptoms, Treatment Choices and Attitudes

In her research, Prof Carol Dweck from Stanford University has identified two mindsets people can have about their abilities and talents (Dweck, 2012). People with a fixed mindset (entity theory) think that their intelligence level is fixed and cannot be changed. People with a growth mindset (incremental theory), on the other hand, think that their intelligence level is not fixed but malleable; talents are something you can improve and extend through effort, practice, and sound guidance. What are the implications of these contrasted mindsets?

Dweck and her colleagues found that those with a growth mindset develop an advantage in outcomes over time, regardless of the initial ability level, and hypothesized that this was due to self-regulatory processes engaged (Burnette et al., 2013). For instance, a growth mindset leads people to set goals that focus on learning (e.g., mastering the task) rather than performance (e.g., focusing on a test score as the end state). Although past research concerned school performance in the main, the mindsets can also influence non-academic outcomes, which is a rapidly advancing research area.

Therefore, we will ask, “How can a growth mindset be helpful in life (beyond school)?”. Choose one non-academic domain in which you think a growth mindset may be helpful. Present your argument with evidence

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