Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education and International Services


Educational Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Elvin Gabriel

Second Advisor

Tevni Grajales

Third Advisor

Jeannie Montagano



Just as teachers help their students bridge their prior knowledge to new understandings of ideas including conceptions of intelligence, preservice teachers as future teachers are undergoing the same training and work environment. Preservice teachers' implicit beliefs and their preferred definitions of intelligence are important, since as persons of authority they influence children and their beliefs about ability. For future teachers, there is limited empirical evidence exploring preservice teachers' implicit beliefs about intelligence and how they define intelligence.


A survey was used to collect data on implicit beliefs about intelligence and definitions of intelligence from a sample of 262 preservice teachers from the Midwestern United States. Data was analyzed to understand the relationship between the independent variables of age, gender, educational level, academic domains, and educational psychology coursework, and the dependent variables of implicit beliefs about intelligence and preferred definitions of intelligence.


The study showed that, in general, preservice teachers have a growth mindset regarding intelligence and ability. With non-parametric chi-square testing, the analysis demonstrated that preservice teachers have a preferred definition of intelligence and the majority preferred a definition that supports different learning styles. Using linear regression, the results indicated that preservice teacher's implicit beliefs about intelligence predicted their preferred definition of intelligence. Utilizing multiple linear regression, the study also indicated that younger teachers and females were more likely to endorse a growth mindset.


Implicit beliefs about intelligence and the preferred definitions of intelligence for preservice teachers were confirmed. With this information, preservice teachers can be better prepared to serve their future students. The conclusions collected from this study can be a stimulus for conversations among educator preparation institution faculty who are training preservice teachers and give them insights into how they can better support those preservice teachers who have fixed views of intelligence.

Subject Area

Student teachers; Interns (Education); Intellect

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.