Developing Minds Lab
University of Kentucky
Implicit theories of ability and interest
Implicit theories are the beliefs that individuals possess about the malleability of human attributes, such as academic ability and personal interests/passions. In a series of correlational and observational studies, our lab is examining the nature and development of growth and fixed mindsets of ability, interest, and health in children, adolescents, college students, academic advisors, and career professionals. We hope to translate our findings in actionable ways that can benefit individuals in different settings.
My STEM Story: Scaling STEM Motivation Through Digital Storytelling and Near Peer Relationships
My STEM Story represents a transformative effort to bridge theory and methods across psychology, journalism, and education to design, test, and disseminate an intervention intended to enhance science motivation and achievement among high school students from groups underrepresented in STEM fields. This project is being funded by the National Science Foundation.
NSF Abstract | Video Introduction | Apply for the My STEM Story National Science Educator Fellowship
Inclusive, open, and reproducible developmental science
Over the past decade, there has been a growing awareness of the importance of inclusive, open, and reproducible practices in psychological science. In addition to enhancing rigor and reproducibility through open and transparent research practices, greater inclusivity through diverse samples can enhance the relevance and applicability of our work for historically marginalized and understudied populations. This project is exploring the nature and prevalence of inclusive, open, and reproducible practices in child development research.
Supporting STEM academic advising for undergraduate student achievement
Research on academic advising has traditionally taken a back seat compared to research on teachers and classroom instruction, yet understanding the advising experiences of students interested in pursuing STEM can illuminate how students navigate this leaky pipeline. This proposed study will fill a critical gap in the STEM retention literature by examining the role of the academic advisor—specifically, advisors' beliefs about the nature and malleability of academic ability and interest—in shaping student academic and career pathways in STEM.
Kindergarten schooling effects on behavioral and neural indicators of executive functions and motivation
The transition to elementary school is an important but challenging milestone for children! This project will examine the causal impacts of kindergarten schooling on two foundational cognitive skills—executive functions and motivation—that are important for school success. The project will use behavioral and electrophysiological methods in order to better understand whether and how early schooling experiences shape growth in these skills, with potential implications for early intervention and instructional design.
Developing and Researching Youth-Driven Media that Highlights Science as an Act of Service During a Public Health Crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented an opportunity to leverage the increased visibility of science and scientists in the public sphere to enhance interest and engagement in science among adolescents. This NSF Rapid Response project builds on the success of My STEM Story by exploring how images portraying youth scientists serving their communities through science can shape academic and career identities in science among high school students.
NSF Abstract | How the Pandemic May Help More Students See Themselves as Scientists
Teaching and Mentoring Open Science
Matt is co-leading a multi-site effort to design and disseminate approaches to improving teaching and mentoring in psychological science as it relates to open and replicable science. This work began as an "unconference" at the 2020 annual meeting of the Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science. In 2021, we published a white paper containing tips and resources to support undergraduate and graduate teaching and mentoring in ways that are consistent with the values of open science.
We are grateful to our community partners who have contributed to the success of our research: