Developmental Stage

Publication Type

Results: Trust

The long-term effects of the racial “trust gap” in middle school

A recent study by Mindset Scholars David Yeager, Geoff Cohen, and colleagues shows that when students lose trust in their school during adolescence their engagement and likelihood of enrolling in college decline.

Breaking the cycle of mistrust: Wise interventions to provide critical feedback across the racial divide
Yeager, David S.Purdie-Vaughns, ValerieGarcia, JulioApfel, NancyBrzustoski, PatriciaMaster, AllisonHessert, William T.Williams, Matthew E.Cohen, Geoffrey L.
2014, Journal of Experimental Psychology

How can a teacher convey criticism that could lead to improvement without undermining motivation and self-confidence? “Wise” strategies are one method. Such strategies convey to students that they will be neither treated nor judged in light of a negative stereotype but will instead be respected as an individual. In an exercise that used attributional retraining to teach students to attribute critical feedback to their teachers’ high standards and belief in their potential, 71 percent of black students who received an affirming note with a critique chose to revise their essays, compared with 17 percent in the control. Among black students with low trust in teachers, 82 percent revised their essay while none in the control group did.