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Yeager, Johnson, et al., 2014, Study 2: Emphasizing how people can change reduced negative reactions to social adversity and desire for vengeance, improved health, and boosted grades among 9th grade students over eight months


Yeager, D. S., Johnson, R., Spitzer, B. J., Trzesniewski, K. H., Powers, J., & Dweck, C. S. (2014). The far-reaching effects of believing people can change: Implicit theories of personality shape stress, health, and achievement during adolescence. Journal of personality and social psychology, 106(6), 867.
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9th-grade students completed a 25-minute in-class reading-and-writing activity: They (a) read a brief article describing how people are not fixed but can change and thus that, if you are excluded or victimized, this is not due to a fixed deficiency on your part and people who excluded or victimize you are not fixed bad people but can improve; (b) read stories from older students about how they used this information to handle peer conflicts, and (c) wrote their own story to share with future 9th-grade students drawing on the materials they read and their own experiences. As compared to an active control condition, this incremental theory of personality intervention reduced negative reactions to a social adversity immediately and, over 8 months, lowered overall stress, reduced physical illness, and improved grades and, at an 8-month follow-up, reduced attributions of hostile intent for a peer’s negative actions and desire for vengeance (Yeager, Miu, et al., 2014).

Psychological Process:

Psychological Process 2:


What is the Person Trying to Understand?

What Desired Meaning is At Stake?

What Desired Meaning is At Stake?

What About it?

Approach to Desired Meaning

Approach to Desired Meaning


Psychological Question Addressed

Psychological Question Addressed

Psychological Question Addressed

Psychological Process 3:

Social Area:

Intervention Technique:

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Greg Walton & Timothy Wilson