Summary: Transformative learning is a theory of adult learning that utilizes disorienting dilemmas to challenge students’ thinking. Students are then encouraged to use critical thinking and questioning to consider if their underlying assumptions and beliefs about the world are accurate. Originator: Jack Mezirow (1923-2014) Keywords: adult education, higher education, academic development, disorienting dilemmas, assumptions, beliefs, […]
Once described by a colleague as “Freud in sonnet form”,  psychological giant Erik Erikson blurred the line between science and art. A prolific researcher best known for his model of human development as a series of eight stages, Erikson’s long and abundantly rich life demonstrated a keen appreciation for the art of living. A […]
Summary: Self-perception theory describes the process in which people, lacking initial attitudes or emotional responses, develop them by observing their own behavior and coming to conclusions as to what attitudes must have driven that behavior. Originators and Key Contributors: Psychologist Daryl Bem originally developed this theory of attitude formation in the late 1960’s and early […]
Summary: Social identity theory proposes that a person’s sense of who they are depends on the groups to which they belong. Originators and Key Contributors: Social identity theory originated from British social psychologists Henri Tajfel and John Turner in 1979. Keywords: identity, ingroup, outgroup, social comparison, categorization, intergroup
Mindset Theory Your intelligence and other characteristics – where do they come from? Can they change? People vary in the degree to which they attribute the causes of intelligence and other traits. Are they innate and fixed factors (“fixed” mindset) or are they variable factors that can be influenced through learning, effort, training, and practice (“growth” […]
Kernberg describes the significance of object-relations on self-esteem regulation and pathological narcissism. Contributors Otto F. Kernberg (1928-present) Key Concepts Otto Kernberg’s theories have been instrumental in the continual development of the ‘Object-relations theory’ of psychology. This field of thought, developed by Melanie Klein in the mid 1900s, is one of the central schools of thought […]
An eight stage theory of identity and psychosocial development. Erik Erikson, a German psychoanalyst heavily influenced by Sigmund Freud, explored three aspects of identity: the ego identity (self), personal identity (the personal idiosyncrasies that distinguish a person from another, social/cultural identity (the collection of social roles a person might play). Contents Contributors Key Concepts Resources […]
Summary: Carol Dweck and others have Identified two implicit theories of intelligence. Those learners who have an “entity” theory view intelligence as being an unchangeable, fixed internal characteristic. Those who have an “incremental” theory believe that their intelligence is malleable and can be increased through effort.
Originators: Carol Dweck, based on over 30 years of research on belief systems, and their role in motivation and achievement. Discussed in her book Self-Theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development (1999).
Key Terms: entity theory, incremental theory
Carol Dweck (currently at Indiana University) describes a series of empirically-based studies that investigate how people develop beliefs about themselves (i.e., self-theories) and how these self-theories create their psychological worlds, shaping thoughts, feelings and behaviors. The theories reveal why some students are motivated to work harder, and why others fall into patterns of helplessness and are self-defeating. Dweck’s conclusions explore the implications for the concept of self-esteem, suggesting a rethinking of its role in motivation, and the conditions that foster it. She demonstrated empirically that students who hold an entity theory of intelligence are less likely to attempt challenging tasks and are at risk for academic underachievement.
Students carry two types of views on ability/intelligence: