Do you think your intelligence is fixed or malleable? Is there just so much you can learn before you run out of… what?… ability?
Research posted on the American Psychological Association web page suggests that believing you can get smarter makes you smarter–and conversely believing that you’re not so smart keeps you from getting smarter.
I think this is important information for many of my students who may not have been the best students in high school but are trying to make it now in college. If you carry the idea of yourself as not so smart, or as someone who has a hard time in school, it looks like you make it harder to achieve.
Believing that you can get smarter, that you can learn all this difficult stuff we professors throw at you, means that you can actually learn at a college level.
Of course, belief isn’t enough. College is hard and it requires that you do the hard intellectual work of studying, preparing for exams, taking exams and doing projects and papers. Like any activity you want to get good at, you need to put in the time and effort required. But this research shows that you’re not limited by some sort of innate intelligence factor.
What do you think? Do you think you can get smarter? What are you doing to be a high achiever in your classes or other activities?