Looking into the dark-side of the incremental theory: when incremental worldviews hurt
Date of Issue2017
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
What happens when one has repeatedly persisted at a task, but with all efforts met with disappointment? Does this mean that one has purely not expanded a sufficient amount of effort? How do we qualify or measure the “right” amount of effort? Can we even qualify and measure the “right” amount of effort? And when exactly are we finally satisfied with the amount of effort we expand, or does this amount of effort not reached so long as we do not achieve our goals? This project aims to explore how the rigid association between effort and success in some versions of incremental thinking can lead people astray: When the absence or lack of effort is attributed unjustifiably to failures (e.g. poor grades, unable to achieve an important life goal). In this study, we compared two different cultures – East Asians and North Americans – on how they differed from each other in two different scenarios – average-effort and exceptional-effort. Participants were recruited from Singapore (n=89) and Canada (n=319) respectively. Results that are consistent with existing literature includes the more intense negative and fear affect experienced by Canadians in comparison to Singaporeans, as well as the negative correlation between grit and goal disengagement. This study aims to look at the dark side of the incremental theory despite having existing literature champion its advantages in various learning approaches. We have also included a section on implications, limitations and future directions.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University