Evidence That It Works
In several studies of community college students from Northern California, researchers found that those who had higher levels of intellectual humility were more respectful of and open to hearing from people who held different views.
One of the studies tested whether intellectual humility could be cultivated. One hundred and one of the students were randomly assigned to read an article either focused on a growth or fixed mindset of intelligence. Students then answered questions related to the article, completed seven difficult spatial reasoning problems, and completed several measures, including a measure of intellectual humility. Students in the growth mindset condition reported greater intellectual humility compared to the fixed mindset condition, thus demonstrating that making known the importance of growth mindset can increase our intellectual humility.
Why Does It Matter?
In our performance-obsessed culture, admitting to mistakes and recognizing one’s gaps in understanding can be difficult at times, hindering the learning process. Teachers can help reduce such pressures by fostering greater intellectual humility among students, helping them to feel safe asking questions, sharing ideas, and persisting on difficult tasks. Doing so will also support students’ development of skills that are essential to forming strong relationships.
Furthermore, research suggests that intellectual humility is related to developing a greater sense of purpose. Thus, by supporting our students’ growth in intellectual humility we might be setting them on track to live more fulfilling and meaningful lives.