Is It Better to Praise Children for Ability or Effort?

In 2006, groundbreaking research by Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck theorized that telling a child that he or she is smart, rather than praising the child for effort on a specific task, tends to reduce motivation to learn, and hampers the child's ability to deal with setbacks. In 2017, two new studies published in the journal Psychological Science add a moral element to the theory, finding that children who have been told that they are smart may resort to cheating and dishonesty when faced with intellectual obstacles. The study results indicate that this may occur in children as young as three.

Studying different kinds of praise:

  • The researchers said that children with a reputation for being smart have added “pressure to perform well in order to live up to others’ expectations, even if they need to cheat to do so.”

  • Both studies focused on kindergarten and preschool-aged children. In one study, researchers studied 300 children in eastern China, using a guessing game and a hidden camera. The results were the same for boys and girls.

  • “What our study shows is that the harm can go beyond motivation and extend to the moral domain. It makes a child more willing to cheat in order to do well,” said co-author Gail Heyman.

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More Info: University of California, San Diego

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Post 2

Again, we need replication and studies using more subjects at different ages. This is not science.

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