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Showing posts from 2022

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.

Willpower vs Voluntary Strategic Self-Control

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We often see willpower and self-control as the same thing, namely, suppressing impulses and resisting temptations and forcing yourself to do what is necessary. But research has uncovered ways of self-control that don't rely on self-compulsion.

Toxic positivity: imposing positivity does not work

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A concept that has regularly cropped up in publications in recent years is toxic positivity . Perhaps a surprising term. Can positivity be negative? What's up with that? Let's take a closer look.

The CPW 7 steps approach for coaches

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The CPW 7 steps approach (Visser & Schlundt Bodien, 2005; 2013 ) is a progress-focused interview structure that is used by many coaches. Both for beginning and experienced coaches this structure is a useful tool to guide their conversations with clients.  Not to be used rigidly  These steps can be used in individual coaching, in sessions with groups, and even in self-coaching. The sequence of questions is usually perceived by clients as logical and helpful. But the structure is not restrictive or rigid. In other words, it is not strictly required to always follow the structure. If you have little time, you can decide to use only a few of its steps. And if clients, by what they say to you, use a different sequence then it is quite alright to follow their sequence. The structure allows clients to bring forward anything they like. At the same time, it gives a useful direction to their responses. Through the questions, clients are led from where they want progress to how they want thei

People are not black or white, nor are they red, yellow, green or blue

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People are not black or white, nor are they red, yellow, green or blue? People have many things in common, but of course there are also countless individual differences between people. Two ways we can think about these individual differences are dimensional thinking and categorical thinking. The dimensional way means that you look at a number of dimensions in which people can differ and then look at individual how they score on each of those dimensions. The categorical way means that you define a number of categories and then look at each individual to determine to which category they belong. 

Social Progress Index 2022: Social Progress Slows Down

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The Social Progress Index (SPI) of 2022 has been published. The 2022 Social Progress Index® uses 12 components and 60 indicators to fully measure the social performance of 169 countries and partially measure the social performance of an additional 27 countries. The index helps us understand how people around the world live, who is left behind and how we can accelerate progress.

The dual growth mindset

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Previous research into the growth mindset has mainly focused on the benefits of a growth mindset regarding one's own abilities and traits. In a new paper, Justin Berg et al. (2022) argue for a dual growth mindset.

Emotional goals: how do we want to feel?

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Maya Tamir and her colleagues are doing interesting research on emotions. Emotions are not simply states that overwhelm us and that we are at the mercy of. Nor is it the case that by definition we always simply want to feel happy or good. The story is more complex. As humans, we appear to have emotion goals and we construct and are able to regulate emotions.

Does depressive realism exist? Are depressed people really more realistic?

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Depression can be tough. But psychologists speak of a phenomenon called depressive realism . They often say that depressed people are more realistic in their assessment of their personal and social world than non-depressed people. Non-depressed people would think unrealistically optimistic about themselves and their circumstances.  This idea has also become familiar to many non-psychologists. It seemed a kind of consolation: while depression is very annoying, at least on the other hand, depressed people are more realistic. Is it true? Amelia Dev and colleagues investigated it. 

Belonging: the science of creating connection and bridging dividing lines

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Two pervasive problems that have received a lot of attention lately are loneliness and polarization. Loneliness is relatively common, especially among young people. Polarization seems to be increasingly occurring in society and even tearing families apart.  Geoffrey L. Cohen , professor of psychology at Stanford University, has written a book relevant to these issues. The title is Belonging: The Science of Creating Connection and Bridging Divides . In this book he shows that the feeling of belonging is not only a consequence of being successful, but also a condition for success. 

Can we learn to enjoy mental effort?

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To achieve many important goals in life, mental effort is important. But aren't we as humans rather lazy than tired? Researcher Georgia Clay and a few colleagues investigated the extent to which rewarding mental effort leads people to learn to appreciate it. 

The negative sides of human behavior

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We can all witness positive human behaviors like helpfulness, kindness, honesty, and so on on a daily basis. Virtually every human being has been given the inclination for this kind of behavior, both biologically and through education and culture in a broader sense. But, as we know, sometimes people are also capable of negative and downright bad behavior. Some researchers have mapped out what kinds of negative and bad behavior there are. 

Is the world becoming less democratic?

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In recent years there has been much talk about increasing pressure, in many countries, on democracy. In the United States, a cradle of democracy, the erosion of democracy has been going on for many years, a process that has only gotten worse under Donald Trump's presidency. In many other countries there is also a rise of populist politicians with autocratic leanings.  Is it true that democracies are under pressure? Is it really the case that the world is becoming less democratic? An article by Bastian Herre (2022) provides answers. 

Self-criticism, depression and autonomy support

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A new study from Theodore Powers and colleagues looks at the relationship between self-criticism and depression and the extent to which autonomy support can help reduce depressive symptoms.

Teacher motivation and enthusiasm predict their motivating style

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A paper by Angelica Moè and Idit Katz (2022) examines the relationships between teachers' motivation, their enthusiasm, and their motivating style towards students.

How math anxiety in parents can affect their involvement in their children's education (and their performance)

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A new study reveals an interesting link between mindset theory and self- determination theory. Dajung Diana Oh and her colleagues investigated how parents' math anxiety is related to a controlling or autonomy-supporting involvement in their child's education. 

What is the effect of how parents provide feedback on their children's performance?

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What is the effect of how parents provide feedback on their children's performance? Is it wise to praise your child's intelligence if he has a high grade? And how do you react if your child comes home with an unsatisfactory grade? Do you say something about your child's abilities? Or is it wiser to say or ask about how your child has learned? A new study by Barger et al. (2022) provides some helpful answers.

How is wisdom related to well-being?

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How is wisdom related to well-being? This is a question that has puzzled scholars for some time. Until now, however, there were no clear answers to this question. A new study reveals how the relationship between wisdom and well-being works. 

How a fixed mindset about personality is related to depression and psychological distress

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Previous studies suggest that there is an association between a fixed mindset about personality and internalizing symptoms such as depression and psychological distress. To what extent does this relationship indeed exist and how might it come about?

Autonomy support by coaches and the functioning of athletes

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How does autonomy support by coaches relate to the functioning of athletes? In the sports world, stories are regularly published about how athletes are guided authoritatively by their coaches. For example, in the gymnastics world, athletes were humiliated, insulted, and blackmailed. The most important motivation theory within psychology, the self- determination theory (SDT), argues for a completely different way of guiding athletes. This way of coaching revolves around autonomy support. A new study maps the correlations between autonomy support and various aspects of athlete functioning.

Childhood adversity: fixed mindset, academic performance, and internalizing symptoms

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Research has shown that two aspects of childhood adversity (threats and deprivation) are associated with two types of problems: low academic performance and internalizing symptoms. In a new study, Lucy Lurie et al. (2022) look at the role of mindset in this.

Choosing intrinsic goals is wiser

On this site you may have already read about intrinsic goals and extrinsic goals. Research within self- determination theory suggests that choosing intrinsic goals is a wiser choice than choosing extrinsic goals. New research supports this.

Growth mindset: more willing to help others in their development

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New research shows that fostering a growth mindset encourages employees to help others develop.

Rejecting scientific consensus and the illusion of understanding

Here I discuss a paper in Science by Nicolas Light et al. (2022) . The article shows 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 but they think they know more about it. They have an illusion of understanding. 

Myside bias: the bias that divides us

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I interviewed Canadian psychologist Keith Stanovich twice ( here and here ). He has done a lot of groundbreaking work in the fields of rationality and the psychology of reading.  In his new book The Bias That Divides Us: The Science and Politics of Myside Thinking he Stanovich argues that we do not live in a post-truth society. He argues that we rather live in a myside-society. 

Empathic Mindset Intervention in Teachers: Fewer Suspensions

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A new study shows that inducing an empathetic mindset in teachers through a short online exercise can lead to teachers sending students out of the classroom less frequently.

Study: growth mindset interventions by teachers work

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Underachievement in schools is a persistent problem. What role do students' beliefs about the developability of their own abilities play in this? And can these beliefs be influenced? And what role can teachers play in this? New research provides answers. 

Elon Musk

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In 1993, Alfie Kohn wrote, “There is a time to admire the grace and persuasive power of an influential idea, and there is a time to fear its hold over us...At the point when objections are not answered anymore because they are no longer raised, we are not in control: we don't have the idea; it has us.” ( Source )  I've known this quote for almost 30 years and I think about it every now and then. Nowadays, this quote also reminds me of Elon Musk. There is surely a time to admire the unimaginable vigor and pioneering vision of this influential figure. But more and more I am reckoning that the time may come when we must become afraid of its hold on us.

Plant-based progress

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Twenty years ago I stopped eating meat because I felt it was better to not eat meat than to eat meat. The reason for stopping was because I had seen something on TV about the way animals were treated in factory farming. My reasoning was that this was pointless cruelty to animals* because we can survive well without eating meat.  Stopping eating meat brought some inconveniences. There was not yet a large supply of meat substitutes in the shops. In addition, it was socially uncomfortable. Many people asked why I stopped eating meat. They also often explained that they themselves liked meat way too much to become vegetarian. 

Depression in young people: free, brief, and self-administrable interventions can help

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Depression among young people is a serious problem. Young people with depression do not always have easy access to care. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the risk of depression among young people is thought to have increased. Researchers Jessica Schleider et al. (2021) went in search of easily accessible and fast-acting interventions for this target group.

Optimal well-being after psychopathology

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Are you scarred for life if you have suffered from serious mental problems? Is it 'once an addict, always an addict'? Is a depressed person destined to remain unhappy? You can regularly come across these kinds of gloomy statements.  But in recent years a group of researchers has come up with papers that point to a blind spot. A large proportion of people with serious psychological problems make a full recovery. But this group has remained virtually invisible until now.  Why full-recoverers have been invisible  Mental health researchers and practitioners understandably pay close attention to the symptoms of psychopathology. But, as some researchers have discovered, they underemphasize the good functioning of people who have had psychological complaints. And this has many consequences.  I previously reported on research by Rottenberg et al., (2019) . This study showed that a substantial proportion of people who have suffered from depression fully recover and function well without

The teacher's mindset

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Is instilling a growth mindset in students enough to allow them to experience the benefits of growth mindsets? Or is the mindset of the teacher also important? A new study sheds light on this issue.  Growth mindset is related to grades A growth mindset is the belief that intellectual capacities can be developed. A fixed mindset is the belief that intellectual capacities cannot or can hardly be developed.  A fixed mindset encourages students to focus primarily on appearing smart, avoid challenges and give up quickly when faced with adversity. A growth mindset encourages students to focus primarily on learning, seeking challenges and persevering in the face of adversity.  Many studies have previously shown that a growth mindset correlates with academic achievement.  When growth mindset interventions work  Growth mindset interventions work when applied effectively, targeting learners who are vulnerable, and in a context that is supportive ( read more ). These findings in

Improving by removing, an underutilized strategy

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If you want to improve situations, objects or behavior, you have to think about how you want to do it. Researchers Adams et al. (2021) examined whether people are equally likely to try to achieve those improvements by adding things (additive transformations) or by removing things (subtractive transformations). For example: how do you improve a text? How do you improve a job? How do you improve a recipe? When trying to achieve improvement, are people more likely to add or remove components (words, tasks, ingredients)?

5 Things That Contribute To Happiness

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Although happiness is not the only important thing in life, it can certainly be important and nice to experience happiness. Below I describe some simple things that can contribute to the experience of happiness.

The development of the liking gap in children

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The liking gap is an intriguing and somewhat sad phenomenon. It means we tend to think that others like us less than we like them. The liking gap has been demonstrated in adults but at what age does it start to appear?

Growth mindset about prejudice: more interracial interactions

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Kristin Pauker et al. (2022) present a new study on the relationship between mindset and interaction between people from different racial groups. The authors describe that, in children, the tendency to associate less with children from other racial groups begins around middle childhood.