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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 studies, our lab is examining the nature and development of growth and fixed mindsets of ability and interest in children, adolescents, college students, academic advisors, and career professionals. We hope to translate our findings in actionable ways that can benefit learners in different settings. 


The Developing Minds Lab at the University of Kentucky is conducting a research study about how elementary-aged children think about their abilities in different subjects. Participants will experience interactive short stories and answer questions about their interests and abilities with a trained undergraduate research assistant. Participation in this research study is completely voluntary. If you give your child permission to participate, the study will take place at your child's after school program, summer camp, or at the Developing Minds Lab. Children will receive a small toy as a thank you gift for participating. Questions can be directed to Dr. Matthew Kim (matthew.kim@uky.edu) and Ms. Chellam Antony (ccan224@uky.edu).


Click here to sign up: Permission form 

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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


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



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. 


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. 


OSF Project Page | White Paper