Hall et al., 2006: Attributing academic failure as unstable and controllable improved psychology grades among poorly performing students, especially among students who failed to psychologically adapt to adversity
Undergraduate introductory psychology students either watched an 8-minute video in which two graduate students and a professor in psychology discussed how adopting controllable patterns of causal attributions (e.g. academic failure due to lack of effort or a poor study strategy instead of lack of ability) can improve motivation and performance or read a 1-page handout summarizing the same themes. They then summarized the main points, described how they could apply these ideas to their own studies, and wrote about a recent academic setback and were asked to reinterpret the event in a positive manner. Among poorly performing students, both treatments improved final grades in psychology among those students low in secondary academic control (e.g., who disagree with “No matter who well I do on a test or in a course, I try to ‘see beyond’ my grades to how my experience at university helps me to learn about myself”), relative to a randomized control condition.