Publication Details

Ziegler, A., Fidelman, M., Reutlinger, M., Vialle, W. & Stoeger, H. (2010). Implicit personality theories on the modifiability and stability of the action repertoire as a meaningful framework for individual motivation: A cross-cultural study. High ability studies : the journal of the European Council for High Ability, 21 (2), 147-163.


The attainment of exceptional accomplishments requires extremely long periods of time. It has yet to be explained, though, how individuals find the motivation for such protracted learning. Carol Dweck proposed that an incremental theory of an individual’s abilities is an important factor in this process since it would account for the optimism needed to successfully tackle new steps in the learning process and would help an individual to cope with setbacks. This study seeks to refine Dweck’s theory. Drawing on the Actiotope Model of Giftedness, we argue that an incremental theory of an individual’s abilities should be divided into two theories: a modifiability theory of the mutability of an individual’s deficits in the areas of knowledge and capability; and a stability theory of the stability of successful extensions of the action repertoire. A sample of 488 12‐ to 13‐year‐old students from Brazil, South Korea, Spain, and the United States participated in the cross‐sectional study. Their IQ scores place them among the top 5% of the target population. A series of regression analyses using various indicators of motivational behavior as dependent variables shows that the theorized elaboration of Dweck’s approach appears to be very useful.

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