The Effect of People's Beliefs about Intelligence on their Social Decisions in Online Learning Contexts
By: Jin Matthew Kuwata Masters
Published: 5/18/2016
Uploaded: 06/06/2018
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: 2016 (May) Teachers College Columbia University Ed.D. Dissertations, Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: Beliefs, Motivation, online learning, Social Decisions, Social networks

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Description/Abstract: The purpose of this study was to investigate: 1) how implicit theories of intelligence affect people's social decisions; and 2) whether exposing subjects to struggle stories may influence those decisions. Implicit theories of intelligence, defines a mechanism by which one's beliefs about intelligence can have profound effects on one's goals and decisions regarding learning tasks. This study is based on the above-noted theory and applies it in the context of social learning.
One hundred twenty (N = 120) adults participated in the study. Subjects were randomly assigned to either a control or experimental condition where special information (i.e. struggle stories) were presented. Subjects used a social web-application where they were instructed to create a short pitch for an original design idea. They were told this would be the topic of discussion with a panel of technology and design experts. Subjects were given a fake sample discussion depicting different panelist types, including one that evidenced high knowledge but was very critical, and one that showed low knowledge but was generous with praise. Based on this information, subjects were asked to decide who they would like to work with or not. For subjects assigned to the experimental condition the struggle stories of the panelists were presented followed by an opportunity to change their choices.
The findings were that implicit theories do seem to affect people's perceptions of others and other's information, explain how people perceived themselves based on the social challenges presented, as well as predict the kinds of social decisions people would make. Furthermore, struggle stories influenced social decisions in a way consistent with how they would function within the context of learning task decisions.
This study concludes that while decisions are complex, based on the evidence present the ideas and mechanisms laid out by implicit theories is one that plays an important role for some kinds of relationship decision making. The alignment between the patterns and processes laid out by the implicit theories framework and what was observed in this research adds credence to the idea that implicit theories may be, under some circumstances, generalizable to social contexts