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

This study compared two expectancy-value-theory-based interventions designed to promote college students’ motivation and performance in introductory college physics. The utility value intervention was adapted from prior research and focused on helping students relate course material to their lives in order to perceive the material as more useful. The cost reduction intervention was novel and aimed to help students perceive the challenges of their physics course as less psychologically costly to them. Students (n = 148) were randomly assigned to the utility value intervention, cost reduction intervention, or a control condition. Participants completed intervention or control activities online at two points during the semester. Their motivational beliefs and values were measured twice, once immediately after the intervention or control activities ended and again at the end of the semester. Both interventions improved students’ grades and exam scores relative to the control group (d’s from 0.24-0.30), with stronger effects for students with lower initial course exam scores (d’s from 0.72-0.90). Unexpectedly, both interventions effects were explained in part by initially lower performing students reporting higher competence-related beliefs and lower cost immediately after they received either intervention, compared with lower performing students in the control condition. Results suggest that cost reduction and utility value interventions are both useful tools for improving students’ STEM course performance.

The authors assessed the relationship between adolescents' achievement-related beliefs and their subjective valuing of achievement. Analyses suggest that achievement-related beliefs can be classified into 3 different task value factors (interest, perceived importance, and perceived utility), 1 expectancy / ability factor (comprising beliefs about one's competence, expectancies for success, and performance perceptions), and 2 task difficulty factors (perceptions of difficulty and perceptions of effort to do well). Task values and ability perception factors were positively related to each other and negatively correlated to adolescents' perceptions of task difficulty.

This chapter reviews research on motivation, beliefs, values, and goals. The chapter covers four main topics: theories focused on expectancies for success (self-efficacy theory and control theory), theories focused on task value (theories focused on intrinsic motivation, self-determination, flow, interest, and goals), theories that integrate expectancies and values (attribution theory, expectancy-value models, and self-worth theory), and theories integrating motivation and cognition (social cognitive theories of self-regulation and motivation, and theories of motivation and volition).

This article explores whether there is something unique about the adolescent developmental period that puts them at particular risk for difficulty. The authors hypothesize that some of the negative psychological changes associated with adolescent development result from a mismatch between the needs of developing adolescents and the opportunities afforded them by their social environments. It provides examples of how this mismatch develops in the school and in the home and how it is linked to negative age-related changes in early adolescents' motivation and self-perceptions. Ways in which more developmentally appropriate social environments can be created are discussed.