M.Sc Thesis

M.Sc StudentShuster Baillie Sarah
SubjectThe Moderating Effects of Fixed and Growth Mindsets on
Meta-Reasoning Processes
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisors ASSOCIATE PROF. Rakefet Ackerman


The research domain dealing with mental effort regulation while solving problems is called Meta-Reasoning. The classic paradigm involves solving problems and rating confidence in each solution, while measuring response time and success. When given the option to do so, people are typically reluctant to withhold their answers by using an "I don't know" response. This reluctance to respond "I don't know" has been found even when having low confidence in the given answers and when providing incorrect answers can be costly. In the present research, we examined whether mindsets, growth versus fixed perception of intelligence, and withholding framing, as admitting lack of knowledge (“I don’t know”) versus skipping the question, might matter. Specifically, we compared these two withholding strategies to full answering?a requirement to provide all solutions?in submission rate, success rates before and after excluding the withheld answers, confidence, and response time. Furthermore, we aimed to delve into the answering process by comparing associations among these measures. Growth mindset participants consistently preferred the “I don’t know” option over the skip option when exposed to a reward scheme emphasizing loss. Meanwhile, fixed mindset participants consistently used both options equally. Additionally, the rate of using "I don't know", but not skipping a question, was increased when the reward scheme emphasized losses. Intriguingly, participants continuously acted "irrationally" and under-utilized the answer withholding options. These findings suggest that mindsets matter in meta-reasoning processes and that individuals are predominantly unsuccessful in taking advantage of favorable opportunities, even when they are right in front of them.