Social dominance orientation moderates the effectiveness of mindset messages

Published on Apr 1, 2018in British Journal of Social Psychology
· DOI :10.1111/BJSO.12238
Crystal L. Hoyt27
Estimated H-index: 27
(UR: University of Richmond),
Rachel B. Forsyth2
Estimated H-index: 2
(UR: University of Richmond),
Jeni L. Burnette20
Estimated H-index: 20
(NCSU: North Carolina State University)
: In this work, we examine whether differences in social dominance orientation (SDO) moderate the effectiveness of mindsets of intelligence messages. We suggest that SDO is a foundational ideological belief system, on which individuals vary, that maintains the desire to endorse fixed beliefs about the nature of human intelligence. Thus, attempts to change individuals' mindsets should be met with resistance from those who strongly endorse the social dominance ideology - individuals high on SDO. In contrast, individuals low on SDO are less likely to use mindsets of intelligence to justify an ideological belief system, and thus, mindset manipulations should be effective for them. We test these predictions across three experimental studies (NStudy1  = 271, NStudy2  = 207, NStudy3  = 313). Across the studies, we find that individuals who are high, relative to low, on SDO have more fixed beliefs about the nature of intelligence and show smaller effects of manipulations of mindsets. However, when comparing to a control condition, there was no evidence that high-SDO participants resisted the growth message that contradicts their ideology more than the fixed one that supports it; additionally, low-SDO participants showed heightened responsiveness to a fixed message. We discuss implications for theoretical advances in our understanding of mindsets.
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