The "I Can Change" Effect
The Boston Globe, July 6, 2014
Is your personality fixed or malleable? Can you change who you are? Your answer to that question is more important than you think—not just when you’re an adult, but also when you’re a kid.
A study found that ninth-graders with a fixed view of personality had more negative reactions in a social-adversity experiment and reported more stress, worse health, and lower grades at the end of the school year. When researchers randomly manipulated ninth-graders’ views of personality at the beginning of the school year—with just half an hour of reading and writing on the malleable nature of personality—they reacted less negatively in the social-adversity experiment and reported less stress, better health, and higher grades at the end of the school year.
Source: Yeager, D. et al., “The Far-Reaching Effects of Believing People Can Change: Implicit Theories of Personality Shape Stress, Health, and Achievement during Adolescence,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (June 2014).
The Science of Character: Developing Positive Learning Traits
By Katrina Schwartz
MindShift, March 20, 2014
What are your top five strengths? In the last ten years psychologists have done a lot of research into the character qualities and strengths that help people feel happy and satisfied with their lives.
There’s been a similar emphasis on the personality traits that help students succeed in school by remaining engaged and motivated to learn over an extended period of time. Traits like optimism, curiosity, social intelligence, and enthusiasm are just a few of the character traits that have shown to lead to satisfied lives.
This eight minute film by Tiffany Shlain and The Moxie Institute Films explores how people can strengthen good character traits by appreciating the positive qualities of others and oneself. It discusses the neuroscience behind a strong character, emphasizing that character is not a fixed quality, but rather something that can grow, change and ultimately improve happiness and satisfaction. Dig deeper into the science of character with these resources from the filmmaker, including discussion questions and activities.
Source: "The Science of Character: Developing Positive Learning Traits." MindShift. (March, 2014)