February 22, 2013

Influencing Mindsets Through Questions

Influencing People’s Beliefs About the Malleability of Personal Characteristics Through a Sequence of Four Loaded Multiple-Choice Questions

Coert Visser, 2013

The degree to which people have a growth mindset can have important beneficial consequences for their behavior, performance, and development. A growth mindset can be induced by giving people effort compliments and by training them through brief workshops. This study addresses the question whether specific questions may also be used as a tool to induce a growth mindset. Research has shown that questions loaded with certain implicit presuppositions can cause people to think and act congruently with those presuppositions. A survey containing a sequence of four multiple choice questions did indeed affect people’s mindset. Version 1 of the survey started with four multiple choice questions which implicitly suggest a growth mindset. Version 2 started with four multiple choice questions which subtly implied a fixed mindset. Version 3 contained no loaded questions. Implications are discussed and suggestions for further research are given.

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