Praising young children for their intelligence comes naturally to a lot of parents and early-childhood educators, but a new study of preschool children in China suggests it also may promote cheating.
In a study published in the September journal Psychological Science, researchers asked 300 preschoolers to guess the value of cards behind a screen. After a practice run, one group was told, “You’re so smart,” another group was told, “You did well that time,” and a third group was given no praise.
When the researcher left the room in a second run, 60 percent of the children who had been told they were smart peeked behind the screen, versus 41 percent of the children who had been praised for their performance and 40 percent of those who had not been praised.
A version of this article appeared in the November 15, 2017 edition of Education Week as Social-Emotional Learning