Implicit theories of personal and social attributes: Fundamental mindsets for a science of wellbeing

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Andrew J. Howell


Abstract:  This paper argues for the fuller incorporation by wellbeing researchers of the implicit theories framework developed by social psychologist Carol Dweck and colleagues. This framework emphasises the role of entity (“fixed”) and incremental (“growth”) mindsets regarding personal and social attributes in the prediction and causation of psychological outcomes, including outcomes directly germane to feeling good and functioning well. Correlational, longitudinal, experimental, and meta-analytic findings are used to illustrate links between implicit theories and Seligman’s dimensions of wellbeing: positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment. Several research and practice implications of the implicit theories framework for the science of wellbeing are forwarded, such as the study of implicit theories of wellbeing and of interventions aimed at cultivating growth mindsets regarding wellbeing.

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Author Biography

Andrew J. Howell, MacEwan University

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology