Monitor on Psychology - October 2011 - (Page 40)

A new way to combat prejudice Stanford University researcher Carol S. Dweck has found a way to change people’s minds to reduce prejudice and bullying. BY TORI D e ANG ELI S n more than 25 years of research, psychologist Carol S. Dweck, PhD, has shown that we have more potential to succeed at our goals than we think — as long as we have the right frame of mind. In particular, she’s found that people who believe that their academic success is the result of effort and learning are much more likely to take on new tasks — and hence to grow academically and intellectually — than those who believe their accomplishments are based on something that’s “fixed”: innate ability. Further, she’s found, if people are guided to change their mindsets — from believing that intelligence is fixed to believing that it is malleable — they start to perform better and are more open to challenges. In an invited address at APA’s 2011 Annual Convention, Dweck talked about how she’s applying those findings to two new social domains: bullying and prejudice. In both areas, she and colleagues are finding that some people do hold fixed ideas — for example, the belief that some people are bullies by nature or are innately prejudiced — but that they can be primed to change those attitudes and their resulting behaviors in ways that benefit themselves and others. “If so much about who we are is about the mindsets we hold, that’s good news, because beliefs can be changed,” she said. Her work suggests that current interventions for reducing stereotypes and prejudice may not be enough, she added. 40 I “Reducing stereotyping and facilitating intergroup interaction is also about making people realize that prejudice is not a fixed trait, that it’s something that can be changed.” Open to change In the realm of bullying, Dweck, Stanford graduate student David S. Yeager and colleagues are looking at whether young people’s mindsets about bullies and victims can be changed in ways that improve their emotional state and the larger school climate. In preliminary work to test that concept published in the July issue of Developmental Psychology (Vol. 47, No. 4), the researchers found that some adolescents do have fixed mindsets toward bullies and victims, strongly endorsing such notions as “bullies will always be bullies” and “everyone is either a winner or a loser in life.” When those same young people read scenarios in which bullies excluded others, they strongly agreed that bullies deserved to be punished and that they would never forgive the bully. The team then had the young people read an article about how people are capable of change. Students who read it were less likely to prescribe revenge for bullies and more likely to endorse confrontation or education, the team found. Based on that research, Yeager created a workshop designed to help students understand that people can grow and change. MONITOR ON PSYCHOLOGY • OCTOBER 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Monitor on Psychology - October 2011

Monitor on Psychology - October 2011
President’s Column
Subtle and stunning slights
From the CEO
Live science on the showroom floor
Zimbardo re-examines his landmark study
Ready, set, mentor
Attention students and ECPs: Self-care is an ‘ethical imperative’
Suicide risk is high among war veterans in college, study finds
Psychotherapy is effective and here’s why
From toilet to tap: getting people to drink recycled water
What’s ahead for psychology practice?
A push for more accountability is changing the accreditation process
Peer, parental support prove key to fighting childhood obesity
Popular media’s message to girls
Bullying may contribute to lower test scores
A consequence of cuckoldry: More (and better) sex?
Manatees’ exquisite sense of touch may lead them into dangerous waters
Building a better tomato
How will China’s only children care for their aging parents?
‘Spice’ and ‘K2’: New drugs of abuse now on the market
Many suspects don’t understand their right to remain silent
In Brief
Boosting minority achievement
Where’s the progress?
And social justice for all
Helping new Americans find their way
Segregation’s ongoing legacy
A new way to combat prejudice
Retraining the biased brain
Suppressing the ‘white bears’
How to eat better — mindlessly
Protect your aging brain
Must babies always breed marital discontent?
Outing addiction
Flourish 2051
The danger of stimulants
Keys to making integrated care work
Is technology ruining our kids?
Facebook: Friend or foe?
The promise of Web 3.0
NIMH invests in IT enhanced interventions
Science Directions
Science Directions
PsycAdvocates work to safeguard key programs
The psychology of spending cuts
APA’s strategic plan goes live
Visionary leaders
Vote on bylaws amendments

Monitor on Psychology - October 2011