Political Neuroscience: “Growth Mindsets” and Disability


From¬†Neuroskeptic: The British government is launching a new initiative, the “Health and Work Conversation,” a one-hour conversation in which welfare claimants receiving financial support due to disability are encouraged to seek whatever work they are able to do. The training material for “work coaches,” who conduct these interviews, cites vague, imprecise neuroscience research to back up its claims that developing “growth mindset” may help disabled people gain work opportunities.

“The training material refers heavily to ‘growth mindsets’. This psychological model,¬†which¬†Neuroskeptic¬†readers may be familar with, originated from research on schoolchildren. According to¬†mindset theorists, children who believe that success is a product of effort have a ‘growth mindset’, and these children try harder and perform better than those who believe talent determines success (‘fixed mindset’).

In summary, the HWC training slides discuss psychology and neuroscience, but as far as I can see this is little more than window-dressing. The basic message to be conveyed to sick people seems to be ‘yes, even you can get a job!'”

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  1. Normal people work a job for their family, house and car. The mentally ill generally do not have any children, do not have a house, do not have a car. What are they working for?

    And without the rights of a normal person. Get sectioned for not obeying orders.

    “The government envisaged that between 350-450 CTOs would be issued in England and Wales in the first year…. five months in which professionals were able to issue them, November 2008 to March 2009, there were 2,134 issued in England alone.” http://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2014/10/07/community-treatment-orders-politics-and-psychiatry-in-a-cult

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  2. In the case of “mental illness”, so-called, I doubt that “sickness or disability impairs their ability to work” so much as social prejudice does.

    In this blog post, for once, Neuroskeptic, in my opinion, got it right. He is not always so prone to do so.

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