Publication Details

Duchi, L., Lombardi, D., Paas, F. & Loyens, S. M. M. (2020). How a growth mindset can change the climate: The power of implicit beliefs in influencing people's view and action. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 70 101461-1-101461-14.


Although people seem to be concerned about climate change, few are pro-actively engaged in attempting to mitigate it. This discrepancy between environmental view and action has been recognized as a great challenge. This empirical study examined that disparity by investigating people's mindsets about the world. Such mindsets concern the degree to which people perceive their world as a changeable entity that can be shaped (growth mindset) rather than a static one that cannot be moulded or changed (fixed mindset). A survey conducted with American adults explored how these different mindsets could impact 1) attitudes towards climate change, 2) beliefs about its mitigation, 3) pro-environmental behavioural inclinations and 4) the self-reported frequency of pro-environmental actions. Holding a growth mindset about the world was related to more accepting attitudes towards climate change, more favourable beliefs about its possible mitigation, and greater pro-environmental behavioural inclinations. In addition, growth mindset was positively related to higher values in attitudes, beliefs, and behavioural inclinations people experienced after reading a persuasive and informative text on climate change. Finally, ten days later, participants with a stronger view that the world is changeable reported having engaged more frequently in pro-environmental actions throughout those ten days. Overall, holding a growth mindset might help to overcome some of the psychological barriers to environmental action.



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