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In the know: Midwest KM Symposium Presentations | More behavioural science fraud | How growth mindset shrank

In the know is a regular roundup of knowledge management (KM) topics of discussion and the articles, events, videos, and podcasts that are grabbing the attention of KM experts across our community.

Midwest KM Symposium Presentations

The Midwest KM Symposium is an annual knowledge sharing event held in the United States for the development of the knowledge management (KM) community. The 9th Midwest KM Symposium was held on 16 June 2021 in Kent, Ohio.

Presentations from the 9th Midwest KM Symposium are now available.

Thanks to John Antill for alerting RealKM Magazine to the publication of the presentations.

More behavioural science fraud

In 2018-2019, RealKM’s Bruce Boyes published the series of articles titled Simplistic solutions to complex problems turns behavioural science into a dangerous pseudoscience in response to Cornell University finding one-time celebrity behavioural scientist Brian Wansink guilty of academic misconduct.

Wansink’s research had purportedly shown that changes in food environments could shape our eating behaviors. That is, such changes could “nudge” us towards better eating. In the time since, Bruce Boyes has published further articles critiquing nudge theory – Is this finally the end of the road for nudge theory? and Critical Eye: A response to “Are nudges sinister psychological tricks? Or are they useless? Actually they are neither”.

Now, Science reports1 that a Harvard behavioural scientist is facing allegations of academic fraud. Data sleuths have found what they say is evidence of possible research fraud in several papers by Francesca Gino. The publications in question include a 2012 paper on dishonesty that has already been retracted for apparent data fabrication by a different researcher. The other researcher is “superstar behavioral scientist” Dan Ariely.

As the data sleuths contend, “That’s right: Two different people independently faked data for two different studies in a paper about dishonesty.”

How growth mindset shrank

As the article Is this finally the end of the road for nudge theory? mentioned above reports, recent research shows the effect sizes for nudge theory to be much smaller than originally claimed. That is, if there’s actually any real effect at all.

In an article2 in his Science Fictions newsletter, Stuart Ritchie reports that this “decline effect” also applies to another notion that has been over-hyped just as much as nudge theory. This is the idea of “growth mindsets,” which has had a significant influence on education policy and practice.

Of significant concern, approaches based on the idea of a growth mindset are also being used in knowledge management (KM). If you’re using growth mindsets in your work, or planning to to so, I would very much encourage you to read Ritchie’s article and the research he links.


  1. O’Grady, C. (2023, June 21). Harvard behavioral scientist faces research fraud allegations. Science.
  2. Ritchie, S. (2022, October 12). How growth mindset shrank. Science Fictions.
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