Hall et al., 2007: Attributing academic failure as unstable and controllable increased final course grades among undergraduates, especially among high-elaborative learning students
Undergraduate introductory psychology students read a 1-page handout summarizing how adopting controllable patterns of causal attributions can improve motivation and performance. They then wrote about either a recent instance of academic struggle and to elaborate on its emotional impact (affective writing assignment) or summarized the main points of the handout, described how they could apply these ideas to their own studies, and completed the affective writing assignment (cognitive writing assignment). Among students high in elaborative learning (e.g., “When I study for this class, I pull together information from different sources, such as lectures, readings, and discussions”), the cognitive writing assignment raised final course grades in psychology and grade-point average relative to a randomized control condition. For students low in elaborative learning, the affective writing assignment raised final course grades.