In the discipline of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, there is a revolution going on. Critiques of old studies are as part of the replication crisis are becoming common. There are the callouts of pop-psychology often deliberately oversimplifying studies to make sensationalist headlines. New studies are being produced that address the scientist-practitioner gap and provide both scientists and practitioners with information that will help them make more informed decisions about research and practice.

The problem is that many of these studies are either overlooked or unknown by scientists and practitioners. I aim to address this by handpicking critical studies that I come across that I think should be more widely known. I will provide the abstract, and citation so that interested readers can access the full journal article. No brief, no commentary just the abstract.

I will select articles based on what I believe will be the most impactful; where misinformation is prevalent, and where the paper has either scientist or practitioner relevance, preferably both. I hope that this series challenges, expands and where appropriate confirms your knowledge base, helping in some way to continue your growth as a psychologist. With that in mind, it seems most appropriate that I start the series with a paper on the growth mindset.

Burgoyne, A.P., Hambrick, D.Z., & Macnamara, B.N. (2020). How firm are the foundations of mindset theory? The claims appear stronger than the evidence. Psychological Science, 31(3), 258-267.


Mind-set refers to people’s beliefs about whether attributes are malleable (growth mindset) or unchangeable ( fixed mindset). Proponents of mindset theory have made bold claims about mindset’s importance. For example, one’s mindset is described as having profound effects on one’s motivation and achievements, creating different psychological worlds for people, and forming the core of people’s meaning systems. We examined the evidentiary strength of six key premises of mindset theory in 438 participants; we reasoned that strongly worded claims should be supported by equally strong evidence. However, no support was found for most premises. All associations (rs) were significantly weaker than .20. Other achievement-motivation constructs, such as self-efficacy and need for achievement, have been found to correlate much more strongly with presumed associates of mindset. The strongest association with mindset (r = −.12) was opposite from the predicted direction. The results suggest that the foundations of mindset theory are not firm and that bold claims about mindset appear to be overstated.