Children praised by their parents for being bright are more likely to cheat, new research has found. The researchers say that toddlers respond more healthily to praise for their performance than they do to being told they are clever (stock image)

Children praised for being smart are more likely to cheat

Parents and teachers commonly use praise to reward children, but when used in the wrong way it can backfire, according to new research.

A study found that children praised by their parents for being smart are more likely to cheat in tests.

The researchers claim that when children are praised for being smart, they feel pressure to perform well in order to live up to others’ expectations, even if they need to cheat to do so.

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Children praised by their parents for being bright are more likely to cheat, new research has found. The researchers say that toddlers respond more healthily to praise for their performance than they do to being told they are clever (stock image)

Children praised by their parents for being bright are more likely to cheat, new research has found. The researchers say that toddlers respond more healthily to praise for their performance than they do to being told they are clever (stock image)

PRAISE AND CHEATING

The researchers say that children respond better to praise for their performance than they do to being told they are clever.

When children are praised for being smart, they feel pressure to perform well in order to live up to others’ expectations.

Some children will cheat to live up to these expectations.

Praising a child’s specific behaviour does not imply that the child is expected to always perform well, and so is less likely to promote cheating.

The research shows the importance of learning to praise in a way that does not promote dishonest behaviour, the researchers said.

Researchers from the University of Toronto found that toddlers respond more healthily to praise for their performance than they do to being told they are clever.

Praising a child’s performance does not create an expectation that they always perform well, and so is less likely to promote cheating.

In the first of two studies, pre-school children who were praised for being smart were found to be more likely to cheat on later tests than those who were praised for doing ‘great’ in a task.

In the second study, toddlers told they had a reputation for being smart also became more likely to cheat.

The research shows the importance of learning to praise in a way that does not promote dishonest behaviour, the researchers said.

Professor Kang Lee, lead author of the study, said: ‘Giving children the wrong kind of praise makes them dishonest.

‘We want to encourage children, we want them to feel good about themselves.

‘But these studies show we must learn to give children the right kinds of praise, such as praising specific behaviour.

In the first study, researchers asked three and five-year-olds to play a guessing game, praising children in one of two ways when they performed well.

Half of the children were specifically told they were ‘smart’, while the other half were praised for their performance with comments like: ‘You did very well this time.’

The researchers claim that when children are praised for being smart, they feel pressure to perform well in order to live up to others' expectations, even if they need to cheat to do so (stock image)

The researchers claim that when children are praised for being smart, they feel pressure to perform well in order to live up to others’ expectations, even if they need to cheat to do so (stock image)

After receiving either type of praise, the children continued to play the games.

Researchers left the room after asking children to promise not to cheat by peeking at the answers, and their behaviour was then monitored by a hidden camera.

Results show that despite the subtle difference between the two forms of praise, the children who were praised for being smart were more likely to cheat.

Professor Lee said: ‘Praising a child’s ability implies that the specific behaviour that is commented on stems from stable traits related to one’s ability, such as smartness.

‘This is different than other forms of praise, such as praising specific behaviours or praising effort.’

Posted on; DailyMail>>

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