The effects of ability- and effort-based praise on task persistence and task performance

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Craig S. Cashwell, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: A pervasive idea among many school professionals is that verbal praise for ability may have several undesirable consequences relative to verbal praise for effort. Despite these arguments, past research has produced conflicting results. The present study utilized single-subject research methods with seven students ages 9 to 12 to examine the potential effects of ability- and effort-based verbal praise statements on task performance and task persistence. For four of the seven participants, only very small differences, if any, in task persistence were noted between conditions. For the remaining participants, results were mixed with two participants demonstrating more task persistence during the effort-based condition and one demonstrating more task persistence during the ability-based condition. For task performance, results were also mixed with some participants performing better during the ability-based condition and others performing better during the effort-based condition. Results of this study do not support the criticism uniformly leveled against ability-based verbal praise. Limitations, possible explanations of the results, and directions for future research are discussed.

Additional Information

The Behavior Analyst Today 4.4 (2003): 361-368.
Language: English
Date: 2003
Student motivation, Intrinsic/Extrinsic, Verbal praise, Effort-based and ability-based task performance, Task persistence, Single-subject research methods

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