Carol S. Dweck is a leader in the field of motivation, personality, and developmental psychology, and her research contributions have been widely recognized. Her book, Self-Theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development. Question: Some students are mastery-oriented; they readily seek challenges and pour effort into them. Others are not. Have you been able to pinpoint in your research any direct associations between students’ abilities or intelligence and the development of mastery-oriented qualities?
Carol Dweck: This is a really interesting question, and the answer is surprising. There is no relation between students’ abilities or intelligence and the development of mastery-oriented qualities. Some of the very brightest students avoid challenges, dislike effort, and wilt in the face of difficulty. And some of the less bright students are real go-getters, thriving on challenge, persisting intensely when things get difficult, and accomplishing more than you expected.
This innovative text sheds light on how people work — why they sometimes function well and, at other times, behave in ways that are self-defeating or destructive. The author presents her groundbreaking research on adaptive and maladaptive cognitive-motivational patterns. This outstanding text is a must-read for researchers in social psychology, child development, and education, and is appropriate for both graduate and senior undergraduate students in these areas.