If you change your mind: The relationship between implicit theories and materialism


  • Hadla Omar MacEwan University


The present two experimental research studies examine the influence of materialism and implicit theories have on one another. Individuals who hold materialistic values avoid emotional and physiological negative experiences. Some avoidance strategies, such as cognitive deconstruction, living in the present, or constant need to acquire materialistic items, are utilized to protect self-identity against any negativity. Implicit theories refer to one’s belief regarding the malleability of human attributes, abilities, and values, specifically whether they are malleable (incremental) or fixed (entity). Individuals with an entity mindset tend to engage in helpless response patterns and embrace performance-related goals. The first study involves randomly assigning participants to one of three conditions (entity, incremental or control), in which we induce each theory through an article. Participants endorsement of materialism was measured using the Belk, Materialism Value Scale, and Revised Materialism Scale (RMS). We predicted that entity mindset will hold more materialistic values than the incremental and control group.

The second study involves randomly assigning participants to either a control or materialistic condition, in which they were exposed to videos and 5-word sentence scrambles. Participants were implicit theories were measured using the ‘Kind of Person’ Implicit Theory Scale. We predicted that those with higher materialistic values will likely hold an entity mindset rather than an incremental mindset. Results will be further discussed, along with will future directions and limitations.

Department: Psychology 

Faculty Mentor: Dr. David Watson