Aug 29 • 1HR 5M

Episode 8: Growth mindset

It's incredibly popular in schools. Did it just get debunked?

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Appears in this episode

Stuart Ritchie
A weekly podcast about the latest scientific controversies, with Tom Chivers and Stuart Ritchie
Episode details

In any given school, you’re never more than 6ft away from a poster about “growth mindset”. It’s the massively-popular idea that if you believe that people can change, you’ll put more effort into a task (like studying) and end up doing better at it. On the other hand, if you have a “fixed mindset” and think talent is innate and unchangeable, you won’t put in the effort and you’ll fail to reach your potential.

In this episode, Tom and Stuart talk about how the claims about the power of growth mindset have changed over the years, and explain the convoluted back-and-forth story of recent studies and reviews of the evidence. Do growth mindset interventions help kids get better grades? Is growth mindset even a thing? Take a listen to find out.

The Studies Show is sponsored by Works in Progress magazine, an online magazine full to the brim with the best writing on science, technology, and human progress. Read any of the essays in Works in Progress magazine and you’re guaranteed to come away with a new idea or a new understanding of how things work - we can’t recommend it highly enough.

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Show Notes


The Studies Show is produced by Julian Mayers at Yada Yada Productions.