Research Library

Search over three decades of research on mindsets, including Mindset Scholars Network briefs and working papers, and other publications from Network studies and initiatives.


Developmental Stage

Publication Type

In this paper, the authors provide a comprehensive theoretical review and organization of a psychologically informed approach to social problems, one that encompasses a wide-range of interventions and applies to diverse problem areas. The authors review more than 325 intervention studies with an eye towards people's psychological meaning-making related to the interventions. In other words, they examine how people make meaning of themselves, other people, and social situations; how deleterious meanings can arise from social and cultural contexts; how interventions to change meanings can help people flourish; and how initial change can become embedded to alter the course of people’s lives. They further describe how this approach relates to and complements other prominent approaches to social reform, which emphasize not subjective meaning-making but objective change in situations or in the habits and skills of individuals.

Students in the treatment condition who were told that on average, college students improve their grades over time were significantly less likely to leave college by the end of their sophomore year, had a higher GPA 1 year after the study, and performed better on the GRE.

Studies featured in this article show that interventions that change students' attributions of difficulty can improve their performance on both short- and long-term measures.