Carol Dweck focused on the influence of our personal belief in ourselves (self attribution/ self- esteem/ personality style/ personal confidence) on our academic motivation and subsequently our academic achievement. She described two main types of orientation in this: mastery orientation and helpless orientation. According to Dweck those with a mastery orientation believe their success or failure depends on the amount of effort they invest in the project, while those with a helpless orientation see success and failure as a personal reflection on their character and therefore tend to give up easily amongst failure and have a lower self-esteem. According to Dweck, older children's self concept is a bit more complex. Some children develop an entity theory of their intelligence, and their belief that a person's level of intelligence is unchangeable leads them to conclude that they are not particularly smart when they experience failure and that there is nothing they can do to change this. Some children, on the other hand, develop an incremental theory intelligence concept and try harder after failure due to this belief that intelligence increases with experience.

Although Dweck's theory is praised for teaching parents and teachers that they must praise effort instead of quality of academic work in order to encourage a mastery orientation and an incremental model of social behavior in children, the theory was also criticized for not addressing the biological factors that influence this type of development.

*All information on this page was derived from source number 2 found on reference page.*