Brief Mindset Intervention Changes Attitudes but Does Not Improve Working Memory Capacity or Standardized Test Performance

La Tasha R. Holden, Bear Goldstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There has been extensive research conducted on mindset and grit, involving both experimental and observational methods. However, the findings in the literature remain mixed. This should give educators and researchers pause from an intervention perspective—if we still do not have a good understanding of how mindset works, then more research is needed. We implemented a mindset intervention with undergraduate women to improve cognitive performance measures relevant to academic performance—working memory capacity and standardized test performance in math. To better understand how mindset interventions work, we also examined self-report measures (e.g., pertaining to academic attitudes and belonging) as well as post-intervention behavior. We expected the growth mindset intervention to significantly improve cognitive performance and to cause more positive academic attitudes and attitudinal change. The mindset intervention did change students’ beliefs about ability and also caused students to report higher grit overall (no condition difference), and to feel less belonging in terms of connection to their university—which was not in line with our hypotheses. We also found that the growth mindset intervention had no significant effects on improving WMC or standardized test performance. We discuss the implications of these findings and make suggestions for future work in this area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number227
JournalEducation Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • mindset
  • working memory
  • intervention
  • academic performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Education
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Public Administration
  • Computer Science Applications


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