A Growth Mind-Set Intervention Improves Interest but Not Academic Performance in the Field of Computer Science

Jeni L. Burnette*, Crystal L. Hoyt, V. Michelle Russell, Barry Lawson, Carol S. Dweck, Eli Finkel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


We investigated whether a growth mindset intervention could be leveraged to promote performance and interest in computer science, through what mechanisms it might do so, and whether effects were stronger for women than for men. In particular, we explored whether the growth mindset intervention improved academic performance and career interest by increasing intrinsic value. We developed and tested a scalable, online, 4-session growth mindset intervention at 7 universities, across 16 introductory computer science classes (N = 491). The intervention did not have a significant total effect on academic performance, although it indirectly improved grades via value. Additionally, the intervention, relative to the control, improved interest in the field and value also mediated this effect. Counter to expectations, the intervention worked equally well for women and men. Theoretical and practical applications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-116
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2020



  • career interest
  • computer science
  • growth mindsets
  • interventions
  • performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

Cite this