Neural correlates of growth mindsets in primary school children (A lot going on at the zoo) 

Principal Investigators:

M.Sc. Maren Stern, Dr. Kim Erdmann, Dr. Torsten Wüstenberg, Prof. Dr. Yves Karlen & Prof. Dr. Silke Hertel


Institute of Educational Science, Personal Competencies in the School Context


Since April 2022

Laboratories used:

Psychophysiology Lab

Neurophysiological methodology:


Project description:

Implicit theories about whether abilities are changeable or more stable play an important role in predicting self-regulatory processes (Burnette et al., 2013). For example, individuals who believe that intelligence is changeable (incremental theory) are better able to cope with mistakes than those who believe that intelligence is unchangeable and stable. Recent neurophysiological evidence from event-related potential (ERP) studies suggests that this coping with errors is related to increased attentional allocation to errors, both in adults and schoolchildren (Moser et al., 2011; Schroder et al., 2017). In a sample of 123 school children aged six to eight years, Schroder et al. (2017) showed that incremental intelligence theory was associated with increased attention to errors (greater pe amplitude) and higher accuracy after errors (post-error accuracy).
However, studies indicate that individuals may hold different implicit theories in parallel in different domains (e.g., intelligence vs. self-regulation) (Burnette et al., 2013; Hertel & Karlen, 2021; Stern & Hertel, 2020). Against this background, the proposed project aims to analyse the interaction of implicit theories in the domains of intelligence, self-regulation and failure (beneficial vs. detrimental to the learning process) with the allocation of attention after errors in a differentiated manner using neurophysiological methods (ERP).


Bråten, I., & Strømsø, H. I. (2005). The relationship between epistemological beliefs, implicit theories of intelligence, and self-regulated learning among Norwegian postsecondary students. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 75(4), 539-565.

Burnette, J. L., O'Boyle, E. H., VanEpps, E. M., Pollack, J. M., & Finkel, E. J. (2013). Mind-sets matter: A meta-analytic review of implicit theories and self-regulation. Psychological Bulletin, 139(3), 655-701.

Hertel, S., & Karlen, Y. (2021). Implicit theories of self-regulated learning: Interplay with students' achievement goals, learning strategies, and metacognition. Br J Educ Psychol, 91(3), 972-996.

Moser, J. S., Schroder, H. S., Heeter, C., Moran, T. P., & Lee, Y.-H. (2011). Mind Your Errors:Evidence for a Neural Mechanism Linking Growth Mind-Set to Adaptive Posterror Adjustments. Psychological Science, 22(12), 1484-1489.

Schroder, H. S., Fisher, M. E., Lin, Y., Lo, S. L., Danovitch, J. H., & Moser, J. S. (2017). Neural evidence for enhanced attention to mistakes among school-aged children with a growth mindset. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 24, 42-50.

Stern, M., & Hertel, S. (2020). Profiles of Parents’ Beliefs About Their Child’s Intelligence and Self-Regulation: A Latent Profile Analysis [Original Research]. Frontiers in Psychology, 11.