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Motivation Theory and Research of Carol Dweck and Colleagues

Over the past three decades, Carol Dweck has been a leading contributor to educators' understanding of motivation in learning. Her work has examined how children acquire feelings of helplessness in regards to their learning and the roles that both mastery and performance goals play in achievement. Although her research has investigated motivation in school-age children, her theoretical contributions are no less significant to understanding adults' motivation. There is no evidence, in fact, that motivational processes function in a qualitatively different fashion among adults than among children. Certainly, adults may be better able than young children to reflect accurately upon their skills, aptitudes, and abilities and control some of the environmental factors that contribute to their learning. Adult educators should inform themselves about theories of motivation. Several of Dweck's research articles and theoretical papers are referenced here for the interested reader.

Dweck, C.S. (1999). Self-theories: Their role in motivation, personality and development. Philadelphia: Psychology Press.

Dweck, C. (1986). Motivational processes affecting learning. American Psychologist, 41, 1040-1048.

Dweck, C. (1975). The role of expectations and attributions in the alleviation of learned helplessness. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 31, 674-685.

Dweck, C., Davidson, W., Nelson, S., & Enna, B. (1978). Sex differences in learned helplessness, II: The contingencies of evaluative feedback in the classroom, and III: An experimental analysis. Developmental Psychology, 14, 268-276.

Dweck, C., & Elliot, E. (1983). Achievement motivation. In P. Mussen (Ed.), Handbook of child psychology, Vol. 4: Socialization, personality, and social development (pp. 643-691). New York: Wiley.

Dweck, C., & Goetz, T. (1978). Attributions and learned helplessness. In W. Harvey & R. Kidd (Eds.), New directions in attribution research, Vol. 2 (pp. 157-179). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Dweck, C., & Leggett, E. (1988). A social-cognitive approach to motivation and personality. Psychological Review, 95, 256-273.

Elliott, E., & Dweck, C. (1988). Goals: An approach to motivation and achievement. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 54, 5-12.

Licht, B., & Dweck, C. (1984). Determinants of academic achievement: The interaction of children's achievement orientations with skill area. Developmental Psychology, 20, 628-636.

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