Posts

Progress post-its: smart way to make progress visible

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This week I facilitated a progress-focused session of a team of professionals from the municipality of Rotterdam. Facilitating such an unknown team in advance is often a bit exciting. You don't know who you're dealing with and you have no idea what they'll say or how they'll behave. But usually my sense of curiosity is greater than my nervousness. The reason for this is that I usually hear interesting and informative things from such a group. That was also the case that morning. Several interesting things were said that also made me think again. I will highlight one as an example.

From authoritarian and sarcastic to progress-focused: a personal exercise

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I had an interesting experience last week during an exercise in our training. A participant changed his attitude from authoritarian and sarcastic to progress-focused within a few minutes. During our progress-focused leadership training, I supervised an exercise in which we practiced progress-focused directing . During part of that exercise, one of the participants, Peter, wanted to practice a bit. Peter had said earlier during the training that he wanted to practice being non-authoritarian in the conversation. He saw this as a pitfall for himself. I stepped into the role of employee and he stepped into that of manager. We practiced that he would ask me directing question and I would respond complainingly.

Global study of love: how culture and environmental factors influence

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Love is an almost universal phenomenon with a biological background. It is therefore certain that love occurs worldwide. But to what extent do culture and environmental factors influence the extent to which people express and experience love? To find out, a group of 91 researchers conducted a large-scale study of romantic relationships in 45 countries and territories. 

How do I want to relate to this issue from day to day?

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Around the holidays and the New Year, we often meet a lot of people and sometimes have conversations that we can't always have during the busy working weeks . I had a few conversations with a few people about big topics of our time. I quite often think about such conversations afterwards. Below, from my memory, I try to recall as best I can how those conversations went.

Our mental versions of the people in our lives

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Recently I was musing about people, as I often do. You may know that. As I did that, I realized that the people I thought about might, in real life, be very different from what I think they are. Our mental versions of them can be very different from themselves. I thought about that for a while.

How does internalization of motivation take place?

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How does internalization of motivation take place? It often happens that we have to do things that we do not find inherently fun or interesting. If this is the case, we need another reason to carry out the activity with motivation. Motivational internalization plays an important role here. Bex Hewett researched how internalization occurs.

Growth mindset interventions with more effect through neurofeedback

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Many see the growth mindset as an important concept for education. However, recent studies show relatively modest effects of growth mindset interventions on school outcomes. New research by Tieme Janssen and Nienke van Atteveld (2022) shows a specific improvement of growth mindset interventions. They not only explained to students about neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to constantly change, but also let them experience these changes themselves through neurofeedback. Below I briefly describe their research.

The intelligent attitude

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What is the intelligent attitude? Psychologists have been measuring intelligence for over 100 years. Intelligence measurements have been widely used for years for admission to educations and selection decisions. In a new article, Robert Sternberg (2022) argues for a broader view of intelligence. I discuss some of the main points from the interesting article.

The importance of unlearning and conscious refraining

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Unlearning and consciously leaving things out is important. In our training courses we pay more and more attention to contrasting learning. Read here why we have come to see it as an essential part of learning.

Being on the wrong side of history

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The Correspondent published an interesting Dutch article by Rutger Bregman entitled Zes tekenen dat je aan de verkeerde kant van de geschiedenis staat (Six signs that you are on the wrong side of history). Here I mention some highlights from the article in the hope that you will read the article yourself afterwards.

Progress monitoring: countermeasure against the negativity bias

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Progress monitoring can be a powerful countermeasure to the negativity bias . We almost always start our training sessions with a start up exercise. This is a short exercise, usually about 10 minutes, that we usually do in pairs. During the exercise, we always give the participants a concrete question to discuss. A question that is regularly used is: “Take turns telling each other about meaningful progress you have made in the past period.” I often remain surprised at how well this question works and how beneficial it is.

Predictors and correlates of autonomous motivation and controlled motivation

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Description of a study by Clegg et al. (2022) on the predictors and correlates of autonomous motivation and controlled motivation. In other words: how good motivation is created and what effects it has.

False growth mindset: Superficial parroting of growth mindset ideas

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A growth mindset is the belief that abilities can change. Having a growth mindset is beneficial for motivation and seeking challenges. But more and more researchers are concerned about the existence of a false growth mindset. Does it indeed exist? If so, what are its meaning, causes and relevance?

Reference bias and self-regulation

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A school is launching a project aimed at improving students' self-regulation skills. The aim is that students learn to concentrate better, to persevere in the face of adversity, and to use various strategies to achieve their goals. Over time, researchers find that the learning performance of the students improves on average. So the project appears to be a success. However, to their surprise, they also see that the students do not feel that their self-regulation skills have improved. The school management and the researchers are scratching their heads. What is going on here? A publication by Lira et al. (2022) offers an explanation.

Two new studies on the effects of growth mindset interventions with different conclusions: how is that possible?

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There are two new publications on the effects of growth mindset interventions. The two articles analyze the same research literature via meta-analyses, but draw completely different conclusions. Macnamara & Burgoyne (2022) argue that growth mindset interventions hardly work; Burnette et al. (2022) found positive effects on academic outcomes, mental health and social functioning. How can this be? There is a simple and important explanation described in an article by Tipton et al (2022). 

Mixed feelings about new insights

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It seems logical: when you come to new insights, you are happy. But it is often a bit more complicated. It often happens that we can have mixed feelings when we come to a new insight. How is that possible? 

Mindset interventions by former students

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Mindset interventions can help students change their beliefs about themselves and their experiences in their studies. They can help students develop a learning mindset that makes them believe they can be successful, fit in, and that the education is relevant to them. Until now, mindset interventions in studies have not focused on the context of a specific study (e.g. biology). In addition, the interventions were usually designed and delivered by psychologists. A new study ( Hecht et al., 2022 ) used an approach of modified peer-modeled mindset interventions. 

Our trust in science

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Recently I wrote an article on a paper in Science by Nicolas Light et al. (2022) . The article showed that people who disagree most with the scientific consensus on topics such as climate change, vaccination and evolution have less knowledge about these topics than people who believe in the scientific consensus when they think they know more about it. They have an illusion of understanding . In other words, they have a high subjective knowledge (this is your own judgment of how much you know) but a low objective knowledge (this is how much you actually know). Two interesting questions arose about that article. You can read those questions and my answers below.

Progress walking: good for progress

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Recently we gave a training in progress-focused working to directors of secondary schools. We had also had these people in training courses in the past (some already several times). One of those present said that, following the first training session, he and a colleague went on a progress walk twice a week.

How can you effectively deal with difficult behavior?

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How can you effectively deal with difficult behavior? Amy Gallo is author of the book Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People) . An article about that book states that Gallo identifies 8 types of difficult people. The article focuses on one of those tricky types, the passive-aggressive, and describes dos and don'ts for dealing with them effectively. I have some critical comments on her typology but find her recommendations interesting.

Excellencism: an alternative to perfectionism

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In an article in The Washington Post , Tracy Dennis-Tiwary , a professor of psychology and neuroscience argues against perfectionism. A perfectionist herself, she writes, “The standards to which perfectionists hold themselves are unrealistic, overly demanding and often impossible to achieve. And when perfectionists fail to achieve perfection? We beat ourselves up with harsh self-criticism and are less able to bounce back and learn from mistakes. We’re also unlikely to celebrate our achievements or take pride in improving on our personal best. To a perfectionist, it’s all or nothing — you can be a winner or you can be an abject, worthless failure, with nothing in between.” 

Do salespeople have to be dishonest?

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Should salespeople be dishonest? Is cheating in commerce acceptable or even necessary to be successful? Years ago I spoke to someone who sold a product that was said to be good for health. He told me he mentioned on the packaging: “Clinically tested!” Laughing, he added: “Ha, ha, clinically tested! You can just put that on there, but that doesn't mean anything!" He pronounced it in a look-how-smart-I-am tone. Underlying such an attitude is the thought that if you want to sell something, a little deception should be allowed and may even be necessary. Seems like a dubious argument to me. I understand that the seller wants to sell, but it seems to me that the buyer does not want to be misled. 

When is lying acceptable?

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We value honesty and condemn cheating. Understandable, because honesty has many benefits and lies and deceit can do a lot of damage. At the same time, we realize that no one is always completely honest. Everyone lies now and then. And I'm not even talking about hiding what you think or saying something that is true yet misleading. I'm talking about consciously saying things that we know are not true. And we all do this from time to time. Why do we do that? And when is it acceptable to lie? Emma Levine and Matthew Lupoli explain this clearly in a new article .

The declining motivation of students during the school year

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Various studies have shown that the quality of motivation of students usually decreases during a school year. This declined motivation is accompanied by feeling less well and functioning less well (in terms of behavior and grades). Rinat Cohen et al. (2022) investigated the reasons for this declining motivation. 

When do growth mindset interventions work well and when not so well?

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When do students benefit from a growth mindset and when do they not? When do growth mindset interventions work well and when don't they? A new study by Cameron Hecht and colleagues uses some cutting-edge insights and techniques and comes up with relevant answers.