A group of researchers including Carol Dweck, Stanford psychologist and author of Mindset, has an interesting study out that relates children’s performance in fourth grade math and reading to the sort of praise that they received from their parents when they were 1, 2, and 3 years old. The results are not particularly surprising: Children who received process praise (“You worked really hard on that drawing, and it really paid off”) ended up being more willing years later to put effort into practice than those who had received person praise (“You are a great artist”). Furthermore, the willingness to put effort into practice was related to the child’s level of belief in the idea that that ability is something that can be developed through practice rather than being fixed.
The paper, “Parent Praise to Toddlers Predicts Fourth Grade Academic Achievement via Children’s Incremental Mindsets,” appeared in Developmental Psychology online on November 27 and will appear later this year in the printed journal. You can find the abstract of the paper here, and you can request a copy of the paper here. There is a short but good description of the article on the Psychology Today website (here).