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Jun 24

Research Supports Importance of Praising Effort, Not Talent

Findings from a recent study has reinforced that praising effort increases motivation and encourages strategies for handling failure. Researchers analyzed videos of mothers interacting with their children at 1, 2 and 3 years of age. The scholars tallied the kind of praise each mother gave to her child and the amount, paying particular attention to the proportion of the praise that was directed at the child’s effort, such as “good throw,” versus praise for the child personally, such as “you’re so good at baseball.”

Five years later, when the children were 7 and 8 years old, the researchers interviewed the children, asking questions about their mindset. For example, “How much would you like to do math problems that are very easy so you can get a lot right?” Toddlers who had heard praise commending their efforts were more likely as older children to prefer challenges than those who heard praise directed at them personally, the study found. Toddlers who heard praise directed at actions also were more likely to believe later on that abilities and behavior could change and develop. Researchers also noted that parents praised the efforts of boys more than girls. Later, boys were more likely to try more challenging pursuits, the study found. (news article)