David Yeager on Motivating Youth and Creating a Growth Culture

The Perils of Unproductive Criticism

Huberman and Yeager discuss the role of critics in identifying errors and flaws in scientific research. They acknowledge the importance of these individuals in catching fundamental mistakes and policing the integrity of the field.

However, they also note the prevalence of overly critical behavior on social media. Huberman questions the mindset of individuals who spend their time posting nasty comments online, finding it inconceivable to engage in such behavior.

Yeager suggests that while there is value in those who have developed honest tools to find mistakes, he cannot imagine dedicating time to policing others unless it directly relates to his work and involves a lack of integrity.

Creating a Culture of Growth, Not Genius

Yeager discusses a new book by Mary Murphy called “Cultures of Growth,” which explores how fixed mindset can be a cultural variable, not just an individual one. In a fixed mindset culture, people are more willing to attack others to avoid being attacked themselves, creating a toxic environment. This can lead to unethical behavior, such as hiding mistakes or lying, to avoid being seen as unintelligent.

Huberman notes that hypercritical people may be masking their own insecurities as a form of self-protection. He distinguishes between appropriate critique, like pointing out errors in papers to improve them, and online cynicism, where people poke holes in everything without contributing.

Yeager acknowledges that the growth mindset field has faced some critique, but argues that at some point, one must believe in the process of science. Huberman agrees that there is an overwhelming amount of evidence supporting the value of growth mindset and related mindsets, despite competing opinions.

Turning a Precocious Skill into a Mission to Motivate Young People

Yeager shares his personal journey that led him to focus on the science of motivating young people. Although he can’t pinpoint the exact reasons for his interest, a series of events, including teaching in a low-income school and being inspired by Jeffrey Sachs’ work, steered him towards this field. Yeager’s research aims to understand how people can be the best version of themselves for their own lives and the world. He incorporates neuroscience and motivation literature in his work, and his numerous publications in top journals like Nature highlight the significance of his contributions. Huberman expresses gratitude for Yeager’s dedication to this important research and his efforts to share his findings with a wide audience.

Coaching a Youth Baseball Team

Yeager misses his nine-year-old’s baseball practice to be on the show. The team is still learning the basics of throwing and hitting, with their next game scheduled in three to four weeks.

Huberman assures Yeager that the information he has shared on the show is sure to make a significant impact on people’s lives, regardless of the outcome of the upcoming game.

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