The Effects of Difficulty and Individual Differences in Mindset on Persistence


  • Kate M. Murner University of Minnesota Duluth
  • Eric E. Hessler University of Minnesota Duluth


Persistence was studied by examining difficulty and individual differences in mindset. Participants engaged in solving five geometric tracing puzzles presented in an increasingly difficult order, the first three solvable, the fourth unsolvable, and the fifth solvable. The task was to trace each line of the puzzle without retracing any lines or lifting the marker off the page. Assessed using Dweck’s (2000) Mindset Questionnaire (fixed or growth), participants who believed intelligence is adaptable persisted longer on the unsolvable puzzle before giving up than their fixed mindset counterparts. Results also suggest that growth mindset individuals have greater persistence following failure than their fixed mindset counterparts. This study highlights the importance of studying the combinations and interactions of many characteristics to explain persistence.






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