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Darrin Ho SID: 23093861 Personal Theories of Intelligence: Psychology Paper 1 I found the personal theories of intelligence and types

of praise very interesting. I decided to share this theory with my boyfriend David. He is a fourth year student at UC Berkeley studying Conservation and Resource Studies. Personal theories of intelligence basically are peoples personal beliefs about where their intelligence comes from. The two major types of theories that people believe in are entity theory and incremental theory. Interestingly, peoples theories can be influenced dramatically in childhood which can be determined by the type of praise they received. We discussed the following findings and came up with insights about our own beliefs. Entity theory believers believe that their intelligence is genetically unchangeable and determined by inherent ability. They believe people are born smart or dumb at certain subjects. When they are given a task, their goal is to show how smart they are. They are embarrassed by failure and try to hide it because their failure reflects poorly on their inherent intelligence. In school, these believers would avoid subjects they struggled in. They are more likely to cheat because they believe that if they are not smart enough, cheating is the only way to get good grades. Incremental theory believers believe that their intelligence is developed and influenced by behavior. When they are given a task, their goal is simply to learn how to do the task. They believe that failure is feedback on what they need to work on in order to get better. They believe that the amount of effort invested is directly proportional to their intelligence. In school, these believers would take on more challenging subjects that they know would push their intelligence. If they are not doing well in a subject, they would put in more time and effort into the subject until they become proficient at it. David especially enjoyed the following study on personal theories of intelligence conducted on little kids. There were three sets of kids and the researchers gave the groups different kinds of praise to try to influence their personal intelligence belief. The control group was given a neutral response like, Great job! The second group received

praise that praised their intelligence like, You are so smart! The third group received praise that praised their effort like, You worked so hard! These three groups were given three problem sets. The first and last problem sets were at the same easy difficulty. The middle set was purposefully very challenging. The control group did equally well in the first and last problem set. The entity learners did not do as well in the third set as the first one. The incremental learners actually improved their score in the last set. David and I concluded that the entity learners were dismayed by the challenging middle set. When they did not do well in the middle set, in their minds, they told themselves, You are so dumb! You cant do this! This mentality carried onto the last problem set in which they should have scored equally as well as on the first set. In contrast, the incremental learners were probably motivated by the very difficult middle set. In their minds, they probably thought, This is very hard! I have to try harder! Thus, this mentality carried onto their last set and reflects their improved score. Davids first reaction was at first shock at how different types of praise could influence a persons belief in their own intelligence. He has a little brother, so he said from now on, he is going to try not to tell his brother that he is smart. He is going to compliment him by calling him a hard worker. David also noticed that personal theories of intelligence were malleable, as demonstrated in the kids study. Before, the kids probably had their own theory of their own intelligence, but they were very influenced toward thinking about themselves in a certain way from the environment. Maybe it is because the kids are young and therefore more impressionable. David said when he did well in school, his teachers and classmates always complimented his intelligence, not his effort. So he thought of himself as a smart person, boosting his self-esteem. But when he encountered anything that went over his head, he avoided it because it would prove that he was dumb. Actually, David believes that his personal belief in intelligence changes according to his confidence. Sometimes, he believes he cannot do well no matter how hard he tries like in math. Other times, he believes he has to put a lot effort to learn the material like in chemistry. I found this true for myself too. In subjects like math and music, I believe I can conquer the material if I work hard enough. But when it

comes to physics or physical sports, I lose all hope and try to get by on minimal effort because I do not believe I am good at those things. I was one of those smart entity believers who did not want to work hard risking failure and embarrassment. David and I discussed whether there was any validity to these two theories of personal intelligence. We now believe that intelligence is both influenced by nature and nurture, not just one or the other. Some kids are just born with a natural ability to do certain things. But that same ability can be acquired if one puts enough effort into it. Even though there is some validity to entity intelligence, we believed it is always better to have an incremental intelligence belief so that we always seek to face challenges and better ourselves.