The Situational Adaptiveness of Implicit Theories of Intelligence and Achievement Goal Orientations
Previous research has largely highlighted the maladaptive consequences of holding an entity theory of intelligence and the adaptive consequences of holding an incremental theory (for reviews, see Dweck, 1999; Dweck & Leggett, 1988). This research, however, has largely ignored the role of the achievement context and how it may conflict with the goals that naturally arise from implicit theories of intelligence. The present research demonstrates that the adaptiveness of theories of intelligence may depend on the demands of the situation. Across two studies, the most adaptive motivation, affect, and use of self-regulatory resources was observed when entity theorists pursued performance goals and when incremental theorists pursued learning goals (fit). Conversely, maladaptive outcomes were observed when entity theorists pursued learning goals and when incremental theorists pursued performance goals (nonfit). For several achievement-related outcomes, however, this pattern of results was moderated by perceived competence, suggesting that fit may be most adaptive when confidence in abilities is high, and nonfit may be most adaptive when it is low. Implications for achievement motivation and goal pursuit are discussed.
theories of intelligence
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