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How we think about intelligence may affect how intelligent we become, according to new research from Michigan State University. In an experiment, scientists asked individuals to complete a computer task in which it was very easy to make an error. The experiment observed that the brain releases two electrical pulses after a mistake is made, the first pulse indicating recognition of a mistake, the second indicating a desire to fix the mistake. Researchers then asked each person if they thought intelligence was given to growth or if it was a fixed commodity. 

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Individuals who looked at intelligence as something that is pliable and can be increased by life experience also demonstrated a stronger second electrical pulse to making a error, indicating that they were more determined to learn from their mistake. "Setbacks are opportunities to gain infor­mation and learn for the next time, so pay attention to what went wrong and get the information you need to improve," said lead author Jason Moser, a clinical psychologist at Michigan State.

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