Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 1998 Jul;75(1):33-52.
doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.75.1.33.

Praise for Intelligence Can Undermine Children's Motivation and Performance

Affiliations

Praise for Intelligence Can Undermine Children's Motivation and Performance

C M Mueller et al. J Pers Soc Psychol. .

Abstract

Praise for ability is commonly considered to have beneficial effects on motivation. Contrary to this popular belief, six studies demonstrated that praise for intelligence had more negative consequences for students' achievement motivation than praise for effort. Fifth graders praised for intelligence were found to care more about performance goals relative to learning goals than children praised for effort. After failure, they also displayed less task persistence, less task enjoyment, more low-ability attributions, and worse task performance than children praised for effort. Finally, children praised for intelligence described it as a fixed trait more than children praised for hard work, who believed it to be subject to improvement. These findings have important implications for how achievement is best encouraged, as well as for more theoretical issues, such as the potential cost of performance goals and the socialization of contingent self-worth.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 59 articles

  • Exploring UK medical school differences: the MedDifs study of selection, teaching, student and F1 perceptions, postgraduate outcomes and fitness to practise.
    McManus IC, Harborne AC, Horsfall HL, Joseph T, Smith DT, Marshall-Andon T, Samuels R, Kearsley JW, Abbas N, Baig H, Beecham J, Benons N, Caird C, Clark R, Cope T, Coultas J, Debenham L, Douglas S, Eldridge J, Hughes-Gooding T, Jakubowska A, Jones O, Lancaster E, MacMillan C, McAllister R, Merzougui W, Phillips B, Phillips S, Risk O, Sage A, Sooltangos A, Spencer R, Tajbakhsh R, Adesalu O, Aganin I, Ahmed A, Aiken K, Akeredolu AS, Alam I, Ali A, Anderson R, Ang JJ, Anis FS, Aojula S, Arthur C, Ashby A, Ashraf A, Aspinall E, Awad M, Yahaya AA, Badhrinarayanan S, Bandyopadhyay S, Barnes S, Bassey-Duke D, Boreham C, Braine R, Brandreth J, Carrington Z, Cashin Z, Chatterjee S, Chawla M, Chean CS, Clements C, Clough R, Coulthurst J, Curry L, Daniels VC, Davies S, Davis R, De Waal H, Desai N, Douglas H, Druce J, Ejamike LN, Esere M, Eyre A, Fazmin IT, Fitzgerald-Smith S, Ford V, Freeston S, Garnett K, General W, Gilbert H, Gowie Z, Grafton-Clarke C, Gudka K, Gumber L, Gupta R, Harlow C, Harrington A, Heaney A, Ho WHS, Holloway L, Hood C, Houghton E, Houshangi S, Howard E, Human B, Hunter H, Hussain I, Hussain S, Jackson-Taylor RT, Jacob-Ramsdale B, Janjuha R, Jawad S, Jelani M, Johnston D, Jones M, Kalidindi S, Kalsi S, Kalyanasundaram A, Kane A, Kaur S, Al-Othman OK, Khan Q, Khullar S, Kirkland P, Lawrence-Smith H, Leeson C, Lenaerts JER, Long K, Lubbock S, Burrell JMD, Maguire R, Mahendran P, Majeed S, Malhotra PS, Mandagere V, Mantelakis A, McGovern S, Mosuro A, Moxley A, Mustoe S, Myers S, Nadeem K, Nasseri R, Newman T, Nzewi R, Ogborne R, Omatseye J, Paddock S, Parkin J, Patel M, Pawar S, Pearce S, Penrice S, Purdy J, Ramjan R, Randhawa R, Rasul U, Raymond-Taggert E, Razey R, Razzaghi C, Reel E, Revell EJ, Rigbye J, Rotimi O, Said A, Sanders E, Sangal P, Grandal NS, Shah A, Shah RA, Shotton O, Sims D, Smart K, Smith MA, Smith N, Sopian AS, South M, Speller J, Syer TJ, Ta NH, Tadross D, Thompson B, Trevett J, Tyler M, Ullah R, Utukuri M, Vadera S, Van Den Tooren H, Venturini S, Vijayakumar A, Vine M, Wellbelove Z, Wittner L, Yong GHK, Ziyada F, Devine OP. McManus IC, et al. BMC Med. 2020 May 14;18(1):136. doi: 10.1186/s12916-020-01572-3. BMC Med. 2020. PMID: 32404148 Free PMC article.
  • Stress, Mindsets, and Success in Navy SEALs Special Warfare Training.
    Smith EN, Young MD, Crum AJ. Smith EN, et al. Front Psychol. 2020 Jan 15;10:2962. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02962. eCollection 2019. Front Psychol. 2020. PMID: 32010023 Free PMC article.
  • Controllability Attribution as a Mediator in the Effect of Mindset on Achievement Goal Adoption Following Failure.
    Song J, Kim SI, Bong M. Song J, et al. Front Psychol. 2020 Jan 15;10:2943. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02943. eCollection 2019. Front Psychol. 2020. PMID: 32010019 Free PMC article.
  • Effects of psychosocial interventions on children affected by parental HIV/AIDS: a meta-analysis on depression and anxiety.
    Chi P, Zhao S, Zhang C, Li X, Guo Y, Lin X, Du H. Chi P, et al. BMC Public Health. 2019 Nov 27;19(1):1572. doi: 10.1186/s12889-019-7806-x. BMC Public Health. 2019. PMID: 31775695 Free PMC article.
  • A cluster-randomized controlled trial of the effectiveness of the JUMP Math program of math instruction for improving elementary math achievement.
    Solomon T, Dupuis A, O'Hara A, Hockenberry MN, Lam J, Goco G, Ferguson B, Tannock R. Solomon T, et al. PLoS One. 2019 Oct 30;14(10):e0223049. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0223049. eCollection 2019. PLoS One. 2019. PMID: 31665143 Free PMC article. Clinical Trial.
See all "Cited by" articles

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback