Claudia Mueller and Carol Dweck, researchers at Columbia University conducted very important research on Praise and the impact it has on the mindset of humans.
They conducted six studies of 412 fifth graders, ages 10 through 12, comparing the goals and achievements of children praised for their intelligence with those of youngsters commended for making an effort. In the studies, the children were given an exam with several different problems to solve. All children were informed that they did very well on the test — no matter how well they actually did. Some were given statements like, ”You must be smart at these problems,” while others were told, ”You must have worked hard at these problems.”
The students were then given more problems, and all were told they did not do as well on the second set.
Most of the children, who were praised for effort attributed their low scores to effort than did children praised for intelligence, the researchers found. Children praised for intelligence said a lack of ability was to blame. They also enjoyed taking the test less. Virtually all the findings were similar for boys and girls and among children from several ethnic groups.
When the children were allowed to choose a task, those told they were intelligent tended to choose assignments they knew they would do well on, while the second group chose tasks they thought they might learn something from.
”Children praised for intelligence preferred to find out about the performance of others on the tasks rather than learn about new strategies for solving the problems,” the researchers said.
- Children who had been praised for their intelligence performed worse in future tasks. The children who had been praised for their effort performed better in future tasks.
- The majority (86%) of children praised for their intelligence asked for information about how their peers did on the same task. Only 23% of children who had been praised for effort asked for this type of feedback – most of them asked for feedback about how they could do better.
- A significant proportion (38%) of children praised for their ability lied about the number of problems they solved in the task. Only 13% of the children praised for effort did the same.
- Children who are praised on their intelligence start thinking …
- “you think I am intelligent that’s why you admire me, appreciate me, I better not do anything that will disprove this evaluation.”
As a result they enter a fixed mindset &“play it safe” in the future, and don’t want to take up challenges…. They don’t want to do anything that will make you think otherwise
- Children who were praised for their Efforts –
- When children are acknowledged for their efforts, the strategies they use, taking up hard tasks etc. … the message that goes to the child –
- That its about the ‘process of growth’
- They get into thinking … “if I make a mistake or fail – you don’t think I am not talented”..
PRAISING a smart son or daughter for his or her intelligence may make the youngster anxious and ill-equipped to deal with failure.
So praise the EFFORT & not the ABILITY.