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Changing Mindsets

"Implicit Theories of Personality and Attributions of Hostile Intent: A Meta-Analysis, an Experiment, and a Longitudinal intervention"

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A new study suggests that helping teenagers understand how people change in different situations can reduce their own hostilityRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader.

For the report, published this month in the journal Child Development, researchers conducted eight studies of more than 1,600 8th through 10th graders who varied by income level, ethnicity, and gender. The authors tested them on their beliefs about whether such traits as bullying behavior are ingrained. They found that students who saw personality as fixed were more likely to see ambiguous situations as hostile.

After an intervention in which students read a paper on brain plasticity and read and wrote letters to one another about how people change over time, students' professed desire for revenge was reduced for as long as eight months. Actual aggressive behavior decreased in one of the six high schools studied.

Vol. 32, Issue 21, Page 5

Published in Print: February 20, 2013, as Changing Mindsets
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