Education for Persistence and Innovation Center (EPIC)

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Education for Persistence & Innovation Center

About Us

Education for Persistence and Innovation Center (EPIC) is a global interdisciplinary research center at Teachers College, Columbia University, dedicated to figuring out how to turn failure into success.

We use techniques from cognitive science, social-cultural psychology, neuropsychology, oral history, and education to study the critical role that failure plays as a catalyst for learning, innovation, and career development.

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News & Events


The Atlantic: How to Be Happy After You Fail

Nuances between Happiness and Strategies to Cope with Failure

Image of Jerry Kagan and Director of EPIC, Xiaodong Lin

Look for Important Phenomena Rather than Trademarks:

In Memory of Jerry Kagan, a Giant in the Field of Developmental Psychology and a Beloved Advisor to EPIC

Academic Alert

  • Do Chinese Young Children Overestimate Their Performance?

    Young children growing up in Western cultures tend to be overly confident about their performance on novel tasks. But does this phenomenon generalize to other cultures? Let’s take a look at Xia et al.’s (2022) study on Chinese young children’s estimates of their performance on a ball-throwing and a memory task.
  • The Relation between Math Anxiety and Math Achievement

    Math anxiety, which refers to worries and fears one has towards math situations and stimuli, is theorized to be associated with both achievement outcomes and career choices. Let’s take a look at Barroso et al.’s (2021) study on the relation between math anxiety and math achievement of all ages.
  • Relationships Between Math Anxiety, Self-Centeredness, and Dispositional Mindfulness

    Increasingly more people report experiencing math anxiety. Math anxious people do not trust their abilities to solve math problems and thus use maladaptive coping strategies that reinforce their math anxiety. Psychological theories have shown that maladaptive strategies are connected to maladaptive self-centeredness and dispositional mindfulness when math anxiety is induced. Let’s take a closer look at the relationship between math anxiety, self-centeredness, and dispositional mindfulness through David et al.’s (2022) study.
  • Do You Feel in Control of Your Learning? The Relationship between Cognitive Appraisal, Emotions, and Math Achievement

    Do you feel confident in solving math problems? Do you think the process of studying math is interesting? The way we perceive our competence in learning math as well as the value of learning it may affect our feelings toward the subject. Let’s take a look at what Forsblom et al. (2022) discovered about the nature of the relationship among cognitive appraisals, or perceptions of control over math as well as the perceived value of it, achievement emotions, and math achievement.
Background Image: Einstein Background

Research Spotlight: “Even Einstein Struggled

Students’ beliefs that success in science depends on exceptional talent negatively impact their motivation to learn. For example, such beliefs have been shown to be a major factor steering students away from taking science and math courses in high school and college. In the present study, we tested a novel story-based instruction that models how scientists achieve through failures and struggles.

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