Carol Dweck postulated that there are two implicit theories of intelligence: the idea that intelligence is either fixed, or it can be increased through effort. These two mindsets have been correlated with differences in academic achievement, overall well-being and self-esteem. Academic contingent self-worth has been shown to increase vulnerability of self-esteem changes depending on academic feedback and has interaction effects with implicit theories of intelligence. The combined effects of self-reported and primed implicit theories of intelligence and academic contingent self-worth on self-esteem was examined. Participants first completed a baseline self-esteem measure, a measure of academic contingent self-worth, and a measure of implicit theories, were then primed with entity or incremental theory of intelligence. Next, participants completed a randomized and difficult version Raven’s Progressive Matrices, and randomly told they either performed well over average or below average and were finally given a self-esteem post-test. Results indicated a main effect of feedback on self-esteem between times 1 and 2, and an interaction effect that showed higher self-esteem when there was congruency between priming and self-reported implicit theory; for example, when one held entity theory of intelligence and was primed with entity theory. Academic contingent self-worth was high among all participants, which prevented replication of a low and high group, but it was significant as a covariate in the ANOVA, and negatively correlated with self-esteem overall. Due to the inability to replicate distinct low and high academically contingent self-worth groups, the expected interactions between academic contingent self-worth, implicit theories and feedback could not be examined. Future studies should examine a more direct link between academic contingent self-worth, implicit theories, and mental disorders.


Herzmann, Grit




Cognition and Perception | Human Factors Psychology | Personality and Social Contexts | Psychiatry and Psychology | Psychology | School Psychology


intelligence, implicit theories of intelligence, self-esteem, self-worth, academic contingent self-worth, failure, success

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2019 Corey Ellen Holt