Research Topic

Implicit Theories in Different Educational Contexts

About this Research Topic

Implicit theories – or mindsets – about human attributes and abilities are of great importance for academic and professional learning. They form a belief system that triggers particular motivations, leads to different learning paths, and shapes how individuals interpret and understand their learning experiences. Although implicit theories are relatively stable, empirical research shows that they can also be influenced and changed through interventions. However, results regarding the effectiveness of interventions and the relationship to achievement vary across student groups and learning situations. Moreover, some findings point to possible cultural differences. These promising but inconsistent findings about the effects of implicit theories on learners’ motivation and behavior highlight the need for further research in this area.

The purpose of this Research Topic is to provide an overview of the latest research on implicit theories by taking a multi-perspective view on implicit theories and bringing together current research on implicit theories from different disciplines.

The collection of peer-reviewed articles can address domain-general (e.g., intelligence, failure, giftedness, and willpower) or more domain-specific implicit theories (e.g., mathematics, self-regulated learning, writing) in different educational settings from early childhood to adulthood, and in samples of different populations (e.g. stereotyped vs. non-stereotyped).

By addressing determinants of individuals’ behavior, motivation and cognition as well as important contextual factors within our society, this Research Topic opens a broad perspective on mindsets and allows for theoretical and practical implications for different educational settings.

We welcome contributions from researchers in psychology, education, and related fields that address (1) the relation of implicit theories and motivation, cognition and/or (self-regulated) behavior, or (2) the modification of implicit theories by (minimal) interventions on the basis of quantitative or qualitative data. They can focus on:

- The effects of implicit theories on motivation, cognition, and behavior in particular educational contexts as well
as the relation to academic success;
- The description of processes in the development of implicit theories within the scope of (pedagogic)
interactions with parents or teachers;
- The interplay of different implicit theories that individuals can hold at the same time;
- The identification of systematic and meaningful profiles or patterns of implicit theories that might support the
explanation of differences in motivation, cognition, and behavior;
- The manipulation of implicit theories in the context of training programs or minimal interventions aiming to
induce supportive implicit theories;
- And innovative approaches in the assessment of implicit theories.

The presented research can be conducted in controlled settings (e.g., RCTs, quasi-experiments) as well as in the field (e.g., schools, families). Dependent variables can be assessed with various methods including self-reports, knowledge tests, and behavior observation.

To address this topic, we welcome an array of article types: Original Research, Systematic Review, Registered Report.


Keywords: Mindsets, Implicit Theories, Motivation, Academic Performance, Self-Regulated Learning


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Implicit theories – or mindsets – about human attributes and abilities are of great importance for academic and professional learning. They form a belief system that triggers particular motivations, leads to different learning paths, and shapes how individuals interpret and understand their learning experiences. Although implicit theories are relatively stable, empirical research shows that they can also be influenced and changed through interventions. However, results regarding the effectiveness of interventions and the relationship to achievement vary across student groups and learning situations. Moreover, some findings point to possible cultural differences. These promising but inconsistent findings about the effects of implicit theories on learners’ motivation and behavior highlight the need for further research in this area.

The purpose of this Research Topic is to provide an overview of the latest research on implicit theories by taking a multi-perspective view on implicit theories and bringing together current research on implicit theories from different disciplines.

The collection of peer-reviewed articles can address domain-general (e.g., intelligence, failure, giftedness, and willpower) or more domain-specific implicit theories (e.g., mathematics, self-regulated learning, writing) in different educational settings from early childhood to adulthood, and in samples of different populations (e.g. stereotyped vs. non-stereotyped).

By addressing determinants of individuals’ behavior, motivation and cognition as well as important contextual factors within our society, this Research Topic opens a broad perspective on mindsets and allows for theoretical and practical implications for different educational settings.

We welcome contributions from researchers in psychology, education, and related fields that address (1) the relation of implicit theories and motivation, cognition and/or (self-regulated) behavior, or (2) the modification of implicit theories by (minimal) interventions on the basis of quantitative or qualitative data. They can focus on:

- The effects of implicit theories on motivation, cognition, and behavior in particular educational contexts as well
as the relation to academic success;
- The description of processes in the development of implicit theories within the scope of (pedagogic)
interactions with parents or teachers;
- The interplay of different implicit theories that individuals can hold at the same time;
- The identification of systematic and meaningful profiles or patterns of implicit theories that might support the
explanation of differences in motivation, cognition, and behavior;
- The manipulation of implicit theories in the context of training programs or minimal interventions aiming to
induce supportive implicit theories;
- And innovative approaches in the assessment of implicit theories.

The presented research can be conducted in controlled settings (e.g., RCTs, quasi-experiments) as well as in the field (e.g., schools, families). Dependent variables can be assessed with various methods including self-reports, knowledge tests, and behavior observation.

To address this topic, we welcome an array of article types: Original Research, Systematic Review, Registered Report.


Keywords: Mindsets, Implicit Theories, Motivation, Academic Performance, Self-Regulated Learning


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

08 June 2020 Abstract
30 November 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

08 June 2020 Abstract
30 November 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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