The impact of mindset
Mindset theory examines how beliefs influence success; for example, believing that happiness can change has been associated with higher well-being overall (Lam & Zhou, 2020). The present thesis combines this research with the field of positive psychology, which studies how to foster well-being in individuals and societies (Seligman et al., 2005). The present study examines the immediate effects of mindset manipulation and a positive psychology intervention of gratitude on measures of well-being, optimism, and affect. In the present 2x2 study design, participants read one of two fabricated articles arguing that happiness is either changeable or fixed, completed the gratitude letter or a placebo exercise, and then completed several self-report measures related to well-being. The MANOVA produced no significant main effects or interaction effects, although the main effect of the mindset manipulation was trending towards significance (p = .114), and the between-subject ANOVA showed this effect held for the Flourishing Scale (p = .124) and Optimism Scale (p = .106). One possibility is that the gratitude intervention may be less effective than previously believed. Indeed, past studies have shown inconsistent results for its efficacy (Seligman et al., 2005; Mongrain & Anselmo-Matthews, 2012). Further, the lack of effect of mindset manipulation could have occurred for several reasons, which are discussed. Based on these findings, it is evident that more research on the relationship between mindset and well-being is needed.