As a graduate student at Yale, Professor Carol Dweck started off studying animal motivation. In the late 1960s, a hot topic in animal research was “learned helplessness”.
Lab animals sometimes didn’t do what they were capable of because they’d given up from repeat failures. Dweck wondered how humans coped with that. “I asked, ‘What makes a really capable child give up in the face of failure, where other children may be motivated by the failure?’” she recalls.
Enjoy this paper by Carol from Happiness & Its Causes 2013.