Can mindsets influence college students’ motivation to learn? Findings from the United States and the United Arab Emirates

Antje von Suchodoletz, Johanna Rahn, Iryna Nadyukova, Lydia Barza, Anja Achtziger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Changing mindsets may influence college students’ motivation to learn, which in turn affects how they engage in learning activities. Based on mindset theory (Gollwitzer 1990; Gollwitzer 2012), this study explored the extent to which the concepts of the deliberative and implemental mindset are value-laden, and hence, might have different effects for individuals from different cultural backgrounds. More specifically, we investigated if these types of mindsets have a positive or negative effect on college students’ motivation to learn in the context of higher education in two different countries, the United States (US) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Participants were 327 college students: 205 from the UAE and 122 from the US. Students were randomly assigned to one of four conditions (neutral, deliberative or implemental mindset, or control). Questionnaires assessed their motivation to learn, defined as attitudes, values, and goals on academic tasks, and self-regulatory strategies to complete them. Results suggested that differences in the consequences of being in a deliberative mindset for college students’ motivation to learn for students from the US and the UAE; only students in the US sample were disadvantaged, whereas no such effect was found for students from the UAE. Being in an implemental mindset did not benefit students’ motivation to learn. Cultural factors that may explain the results are discussed. The findings reinforce the need to examine motivation and possible interventions aimed at strengthening motivation in the context of higher education across individuals from different cultural background.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)731-748
Number of pages18
JournalHigher Education
Volume79
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

Keywords

  • College students
  • Cross-cultural
  • Deliberative mindset
  • Implemental mindset
  • Motivation to learn

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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