Boese et al., 2013: Learning that poor academic performance may occur because of internal, unstable, and controllable causes, improved academic achievement among undergraduates
Undergraduate introductory psychology students watched a brief video in which two students and a professor in psychology discussed how adopting controllable patterns of causal attributions (e.g. attributing academic failure due to lack of effort or a poor study strategy instead of lack of ability) can improve motivation and performance. Students then discussed the video in small groups and the importance of adaptive attributions (e.g. that causes can shift from "internal, stable, and uncontrollable" to "internal, unstable, and controllable"). Finally, students discussed good and bad note-taking strategies so as to illustrate the importance of expending effort. As compared to a randomized control condition, this treatment improved final course grades in psychology and first-year grade-point-average among students who were more failure avoidant. There was no effect for students less failure avoidant.