The aim of this study was to examine the development of the associations between elementary school students’ mindsets and the attentional neural processing of positive and negative feedback in math. For this, we analyzed data collected twice from 100 Finnish elementary school students. During the autumn semesters of their 3rd and 4th grade, the participants’ general intelligence mindset and math ability mindset were measured with a questionnaire, and their brain responses elicited by performance-relevant feedback were recorded during an arithmetic task. We found that students’ fixed mindsets about general intelligence and math ability were associated with greater attention allocated to positive feedback as indicated by a larger P300. These associations were driven by the effects of mindsets on attention allocation to positive feedback in grade 4. Additionally, 4th graders’ more fixed general intelligence mindset was marginally associated with greater attention allocated to negative feedback. In addition, the effects of both mindsets on attention allocation to feedback were marginally stronger when the children were older. The present results, although marginal in the case of negative feedback and mainly driven by effects in grade 4, are possibly a reflection of the greater self-relevance of feedback stimuli for students with a more fixed mindset. It is also possible that these findings reflect the fact that, in evaluative situations, mindset could influence stimulus processing in general. The marginal increase in the effects of mindsets as children mature may reflect the development of coherent mindset meaning systems during elementary school years.
|Journal||Frontiers in Psychology|
|Publication status||Published - 14 Mar 2023|
|Publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|
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