This month, Dweck and Bentley are launching a study of about 40 racing-car drivers to learn how applying a growth mindset approach improves their speed times during the 2007 racing season. Bentley explained that car races can last hours and drivers may lose their concentration at pivotal points, making it possible to lose a race by only a few seconds. The objective of coaching is to help drivers recover quickly and maintain an optimal state of flow, he said. The research, carried out by psychology graduate student Fred Leach, will use surveys to gauge the mindset of drivers before, during and after races to see if there is a correlation with their race results, Bentley said. "The goal is to build a growth mindset," he said.
In addition to sports coaches, parents and teachers have written to Dweck to say that Mindset has given them new insight into their children and students. "One very common thing is that often very brilliant children stop working because they're praised so often that it's what they want to live asbrilliantnot as someone who ever makes mistakes," she said. "It really stunts their motivation. Parents and teachers say they now understand how to prevent thathow to work with low-achieving students to motivate them and high-achieving students to maximize their efforts." The point is to praise children's efforts, not their intelligence, she said.
Last year, Dweck taught a freshman seminar based on Mindset. She chose 16 students from more than 100 who applied, selecting those who expressed personal motivation rather than intelligence. "You can impress someone with how smart you are or how motivated you are, and I picked students who expressed their motivation," she said.