Hostname: page-component-7479d7b7d-q6k6v Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-15T02:27:02.506Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Why we don't need built-in misbeliefs

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 January 2010

Carol S. Dweck
Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305.


In this commentary, I question the idea that positive illusions are evolved misbeliefs on the grounds that positive illusions are often maladaptive, are not universal, and may be by-products of existing mechanisms. Further, because different beliefs are adaptive in different situations and cultures, it makes sense to build in a readiness to form beliefs rather than the beliefs themselves.

Open Peer Commentary
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Cassia, V. M., Turati, C. & Simion, F. (2004) Can a non-specific preference for top-heavy patterns explain newborns' face preference? Psychological Science 15:379–83.Google Scholar
Cimpian, A., Arce, H., Markman, E. M. & Dweck, C. S. (2007) Subtle linguistic cues impact children's motivation. Psychological Science 18:314–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dunning, D., Heath, C. & Suls, J. M. (2004) Flawed self-assessment: Implications for health, education, and the workplace. Psychological Science in the Public Interest 5:69106.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Heine, S. J. & Lehman, D. R. (1995) Cultural variation in unrealistic optimism: Does the West feel more vulnerable than the East? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 68:595607.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Johnson, S., Dweck, C. S. & Chen, F. (2007) Evidence for infants' internal working models of attachment. Psychological Science 18:501502.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kamins, M. & Dweck, C. S. (1999) Person vs. process praise and criticism: Implications for contingent self-worth and coping. Developmental Psychology 35:835–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kitayama, S., Markus, H. R., Matsumoto, H. & Norasakkunkit, V. (1997) Individual and collective process in the construction of the self: Self-enhancement in the U.S. and self-criticism in Japan. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 72:1245–67.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Mueller, C. M. & Dweck, C. S. (1998) Intelligence praise can undermine motivation and performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 75:3352.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Murphy, M. C. & Dweck, C. S. (2009, in press) A culture of genius: How an organization's lay theories shape people's cognition, affect, and behavior. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.Google Scholar
Ross, L. & Nisbett, R. E. (1991) The person and the situation. McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
Saffran, J. R., Aslin, R. N. & Newport, E. L. (1996) Statistical learning in 8-month-old infants. Science 274:1926–28.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Spelke, E. S. & Kinzler, K. D. (2007) Core knowledge. Developmental Science 10:8996.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Vaish, A., Grossmann, T. & Woodward, A. (2008) Not all emotions are created equal: The negativity bias in early development. Psychological Bulletin 134:383403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Vouloumanos, A. & Werker, J. F. (2007) Listening to language at birth: Evidence for a bias for speech in neonates. Developmental Science 10:159–64.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Watson, J. S. (1985) Contingency perception in early social development. In: Social perception in infants, ed. Field, T. M. & Fox, N. A., pp. 157–76. Ablex.Google Scholar
Woodward, A. & Needham, A. (Ed.) (2009) Learning and the infant mind. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar