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Education Bookcast

Aug 1, 2022

[By the way, the cover image is of the proportion of children in different countries who have a growth mindset (darker red is more). The data was taken from PISA 2019 and I constructed the image using Python. Grey countries are those for which I didn't have data.]

I was initially a huge supporter and admirer of Carol Dweck's work on fixed vs. growth mindset. The very first episode of the podcast was about her book, and I mentioned it many times afterwards, talking about how amazing it was.

Then a couple of years ago I lost confidence. Angry about being misled by advocates of constructivist, project-based, or discovery learning, and pessimistic about psychology as a whole with my recent discovery of the degree to which studies would have completely different results depending on cultural sample, I heard that Dweck's work was having trouble replicating. In episode 100, I spoke about my concerns with mindset, which was particularly bitter since I'd once been such a strong advocate of it. It just seemed like the entire field of psychology was collapsing around me and there was nobody I could trust.

Since then, a listener of the podcast asked me to elaborate on my position regarding mindset. Why had I changed my view? What do I currently think? I decided to take a deeper look at what had been happening in the mindset scene, and this episode is the product.

Enjoy the episode.



1. Mindset by Carol Dweck

68. The Upside of Stress by Kelly McGonigal (about stress mindsets)


Mentioned in this episode (in order of appearance):

Does mindset affect children's ability, school achievement, or response to challenge? Three failures to replicate by Li & Bates (2018)

Failure to Replicate: Testing a Growth Mindset Intervention for College Student Success by Brez et al. (2020)

Changing Mindsets: Effectiveness trial Evaluation Report from the Education Endowment Foundation (2019)

To What Extent and Under Which Circumstances Are Growth Mind-Sets Important to Academic Achievement? Two Meta-Analyses by Sisk et al. (2018)


Schools are buying "growth mindset" interventions despite scant evidence that they work well by Brooke Macnamara (2018)

What Can Be Learned From Growth Mindset Controversies? by Yeager & Dweck (2020)


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