A bioecological perspective on mindset

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2 Scopus citations


Mindset—beliefs about the malleability of intelligence—has been traditionally conceptualized as an individual-level construct. The present study adapts, proposes, and applies a bioecological model to examine how learners perceive the intelligence mindset beliefs possessed by important socializing agents—parents, teachers, and peers—and whether and how these perceived mindset beliefs shape individuals’ own understanding of intelligence and intelligence mindset. Inductive coding of focus group data from 42 undergraduate students in the United States revealed six themes reflecting the dynamic interplay between person and context: (1) Definitions of intelligence reflect resource, force, and demand characteristics, (2) Students largely endorse growth mindset beliefs, but not unconditionally, (3) Supports and supportive environments shape intelligence mindset, (4) Individual differences in perspective taking shape perceptions of intelligence mindset, (5) The impact of age and generational status on intelligence mindset depends on socializing agent, and (6) Identity markers shape student perceptions of intelligence and intelligence mindset. Findings demonstrate the utility in applying a bioecological model for the study of mindset and point to new directions for examining the synergistic impact of person-context interactions on student motivation, learning, and achievement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102173
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
StatePublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Inc.


  • Intelligence
  • Mindset
  • Parents
  • Peers
  • Teachers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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