Carol S. Dweck
Carol Dweck speaking for the documentary Innovation: Where Creativity and Technology Meet in 2015
|Born||October 17, 1946|
|Alma mater||Barnard College|
|Fields||Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology|
University of Illinois
Carol S. Dweck (born October 17, 1946) is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. Dweck is known for her work on the mindset psychological trait. She taught at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the University of Illinois before joining the Stanford University faculty in 2004.
Early life and education
In her sixth grade class at P.S. 153 in Brooklyn, New York, students were seated in order of their IQ. Students with the highest IQ scores could erase the blackboard, carry the flag, or take a note to the principal's office. She said in a 2015 interview, "On the one hand, I didn't believe that a score on a test was that important; on the other hand, every student wants to succeed in the framework that's established. So looking back, I think that glorification of IQ was a pivotal point of my development."
Dweck has primary research interests in motivation, personality, and development. She teaches courses in Personality and Social Development as well as Motivation. Her key contribution to social psychology relates to implicit theories of intelligence, per her 2006 book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. According to Dweck, individuals can be placed on a continuum according to their implicit views of where ability comes from. Some believe their success is based on innate ability; these are said to have a "fixed" theory of intelligence (fixed mindset). Others, who believe their success is based on hard work, learning, training and doggedness are said to have a "growth" or an "incremental" theory of intelligence (growth mindset). Individuals may not necessarily be aware of their own mindset, but their mindset can still be discerned based on their behavior. It is especially evident in their reaction to failure. Fixed-mindset individuals dread failure because it is a negative statement on their basic abilities, while growth mindset individuals don't mind or fear failure as much because they realize their performance can be improved and learning comes from failure. These two mindsets play an important role in all aspects of a person's life. Dweck argues that the growth mindset will allow a person to live a less stressful and more successful life. Dweck's definition of fixed and growth mindsets from a 2012 interview:
In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that's that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don't necessarily think everyone's the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.
This is important because (1) individuals with a "growth" theory are more likely to continue working hard despite setbacks and (2) individuals' theories of intelligence may be affected by subtle environmental cues. For example, children given praise such as "good job, you're very smart" are more likely to develop a fixed mindset, whereas if given compliments like "good job, you worked very hard" they are more likely to develop a growth mindset. In other words, it may be possible to encourage students, for example, to persist despite failure by encouraging them to think about learning in a certain way.
Goal of mindset
Dweck's research challenges the common belief that intelligent people are born smart. As explained by Dweck, a growth mindset is not just about effort. Perhaps the most common misconception is simply equating the growth mindset with effort. "The growth mindset was intended to help close achievement gaps, not hide them. It is about telling the truth about a student's current achievement and then, together, doing something about it, helping him or her become smarter."
Dweck advises, "If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning. That way, their children don't have to be slaves of praise. They will have a lifelong way to build and repair their own confidence."
Dweck warns of the dangers of praising intelligence as it puts children in a fixed mindset, and they will not want to be challenged because they will not want to look stupid or make a mistake. She notes, "Praising children's intelligence harms motivation and it harms performance."
Carol Dweck maintains a teaching presence as a psychology professor at Stanford for the 2017-18 school year, teaching Developmental Psychology, Self Theories, and Independent Studies. She says, "I hope that my 21st-century work can also empower people to achieve greater personal freedom and equality."
Dweck has explained her current focus by saying "I am now developing a broad theory that puts motivation and the formation of mindsets (or beliefs) at the heart of social and personality development. It is hoped that this will attract even more young scholars in developmental psychology to the study of motivation."
Most recent (September 2017), Carol Dweck won the biggest prize in education circles, $3.8 million to continue her research on the ability to learn ($1.9 million cash prize and $1.9 million for educational initiatives). Dweck said in a statement, "I'm thrilled and honored to be the inaugural recipient of this amazing prize. It will allow us to take our work forward and continue to innovate—to develop even more effective interventions for students and more effective materials for teachers to use in classrooms."
Awards and honors
Dweck is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and of the National Academy of Sciences. She received the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association in 2011. On September 19, 2017, the Hong Kong-based Yidan Prize Foundation named Dweck one of two inaugural laureates, to be awarded the Yidan Prize for Education Research, citing her mindset work. The prize includes receipt of approximately US$3.9 million, divided equally between a cash prize and project funding.
Critics point to the fact that Dweck's research does not appear to be replicable—a key requirement to prove its validity. Writing in the Spectator, Toby Young points out that "Timothy Bates, a psychology professor at Edinburgh University, has been trying for several years to replicate Dweck's findings, each time without success, and his colleagues haven't been able to either". He also comments: "...to claim that your performance in a cognitive task is entirely dictated by how hard you try and is nothing to do with raw candle-power flies in the face of more than 100 years of intelligence research".
Dweck has responded to this criticism by saying that researchers have not accurately replicated the conditions of the study. However, Nick Brown, who co-developed the GRIM test argued: "If your effect is so fragile that it can only be reproduced [under strictly controlled conditions], then why do you think it can be reproduced by schoolteachers?" He points out that most of the research in this area has been conducted by Dweck or her collaborators.
Tom Chivers, writing for BuzzFeed, comments: "The findings of Dweck's key study have never been replicated in a published paper, which is noteworthy in so high-profile a work. One scientist told BuzzFeed News that his attempt to reproduce the findings has so far failed. An investigation found several small but revealing errors in the study that may require a correction".
Nick Brown applied the GRIM test, a simple statistical test used to identify inconsistencies in the analysis of granular data sets, to the work by Mueller and Dweck, finding inconsistencies. Dweck acknowledged and responded to the highlighted inconsistencies, some of which turned out to be mistakes. Brown praised Dweck's "openness and willingness to address the problems" and said she had done a "thorough job of owning up to the problems" of the paper. Brown commented: "I'm still skeptical about mindset as a construct, but at least I feel confident that the main people researching it are dedicated to doing the most careful reporting of their science that they can".
It has been alleged that Dweck's research results were embellished. Columbia University's Research Review Of Ethics and Facts (RREF) is sometimes quoted in support of these allegations. However, it is not possible to reference this finding, and as such this allegation should currently be considered unsubstantiated.
Other education and psychology researchers worry that 'mindset' has simply become another aspect to be assessed and graded in children. Matt O'Leary, an education lecturer at Birmingham City University, tweeted that it was "farcical" that his six-year-old daughter was being graded on her attitude towards learning. David James, professor of social sciences at Cardiff and editor of the British Journal of Sociology of Education, says "it's great to dwell on the fact that intelligence is not fundamentally genetic and unchangeable", but he believes the limitations of mindset outweigh its uses. "It individualises the failure—'they couldn't change the way they think, so that's why they failed'." James notes that a study in 2013 showed no statistically significant effect of mindset theory.
Testing mindset in this way is not consistent with Dweck's advocated method. This criticism is therefore centered on how mindset is being implemented and approached in schools, rather than on Dweck's research.
Carol is married to David Goldman, who is a national theatre director and critic and the founder and director of the National Center for New Plays at Stanford University. Although she did not have children of her own, her husband has two grown children, whose children call Dweck "grandma". She notes the grandchildren have growth mindset and says, "Their parents did very well with that!"
- Heckhausen, J., & Dweck, C. S. (Eds.). (1998). Motivation and self-regulation across the life span. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Dweck, C. S. (1999). Self-theories: Their role in motivation, personality and development. Philadelphia: Psychology Press.
- Elliot, A. J., & Dweck, C. S. (Eds.). (2005). Handbook of competence and motivation. New York: Guilford.
- Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Random House.
- Dweck, C. S. (2012). Mindset: How you can fulfill your potential. Constable & Robinson Limited.
- "Being the First: Carol Dweck '67". Barnard College. 2018-04-10. Retrieved 2018-09-06.
- "Carol Dweck floats like a butterfly, but her intellect stings like a bee". Schools Week. 2015-06-25. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
- "New study yields instructive results on how mindset affects learning". Stanford University. Retrieved 2018-09-06.
- "Carol Dweck's Profile - Stanford Profiles". profiles.stanford.edu. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
- "The words that could unlock your child", BBC News, 19 April 2011.
- Mangels, J. A.; Butterfield, B.; Lamb, J.; Good, C.; Dweck, C. (2006). "Why do beliefs about intelligence influence learning success? A social cognitive neuroscience model". Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. 1 (2): 75–86. doi:10.1093/scan/nsl013. PMC 1838571. PMID 17392928.
- Job, V.; Dweck, C. S.; Walton, G. M. (2010). "Ego Depletion--Is It All in Your Head?: Implicit Theories About Willpower Affect Self-Regulation". Psychological Science. 21 (11): 1686–1693. doi:10.1177/0956797610384745. PMID 20876879.
- Olson, K. R.; Dunham, Y.; Dweck, C. S.; Spelke, E. S.; Banaji, M. R. (2008). "Judgments of the lucky across development and culture". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 94 (5): 757–776. doi:10.1037/0022-35220.127.116.117. PMC 2745195. PMID 18444737.
- Dweck, C. S.; Leggett, E. L. (1988). "A social-cognitive approach to motivation and personality". Psychological Review. 95 (2): 256–273. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.95.2.256.
- Dweck, C. S. (1986). "Motivational processes affecting learning". American Psychologist. 41 (10): 1040–1048. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.41.10.1040.
- "Stanford University's Carol Dweck on the Growth Mindset and Education". OneDublin.org. 2012-06-19. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
- "Carol Dweck Revisits the 'Digital Nomad Life Lessons & Mindset'" edweek.org. 2015-09-22
- "Carol Dweck Biography" psychology.com. 2016-07-18
- Dweck, Carol S. - Department of Psychology, Stanford University
- Dweck, C. (2017). "The Journey to Children's Mindsets–and Beyond".Child Development Perspectives. 11 (2): 139-144
- "Stanford professor Carol Dweck, pioneer of 'mindset' educational theory, awarded $4 million prize". SFGate.com. 2017-09-19.
- "American Academy of Arts & Sciences Members 1780-Present" (PDF). amacad.org. 2017-09-19.
- "Four APS Fellows Elected to the National Academy of Sciences". psychologicalscience.org. 2012-05-02.
- "Stanford psychologist recognized with $4 million prize for education research". news.stanford.edu. 2017-09-19.
- "Schools are desperate to teach growth mindset". The Spectator.co.uk. 21 January 2017.
- "What is Your Mindset". buzzfeed.com. 14 January 2017.
- "In which science actually self-corrects". 14 January 2017.
- Rustin, Susanna (10 May 2016). "New test for Growth Mindset". The Guardian.
- Krakovsky, Marina (2007-03-01). "The Effort Effect - Article". Stanford Magazine. Retrieved 2018-09-06.
- New York Times, Unboxed: If You're Open to Growth, You Tend to Grow, July 6, 2008.
- Stanford News Service press release: Fixed versus growth intelligence mindsets: It's all in your head, Dweck says
- Lisa Trei, "New study yields instructive results on how mindset affects learning", Stanford Report, Feb. 7, 2007
- Indiana University Human Intelligence project Carol Dweck profile
- Stanford University Carol Dweck profile
- Dweck, C.S., & Bempechat, J. (1983). Children's theories of intelligence: Implications for learning. In S. Paris, G. Olson, and H. Stevenson (Eds.) Learning and motivation in children. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
- Dweck, C. S.; Chiu, C. Y.; Hong, Y. Y. (1995). "Implicit Theories: Elaboration and Extension of the Model". Psychological Inquiry. 6 (4): 322–333. doi:10.1207/s15327965pli0604_12.
- Stanford University faculty profile page
- Carol Dweck's TED Talk on the Growth Mindset, TEDxNorrkoping, Nov. 2014
- Mindset Works: Brainology
- "Mindsets - A Conversation with Carol Dweck", Ideas Roadshow, 2014
- "Growth Mindset - Professor Carol Dweck on Bridging the Gaps", 'Bridging the Gaps: A Portal for Curious Minds', 2015