Friday, February 23, 2007

How to (and how not to) praise (your) kids

I certainly agree with the conclusions of this interesting article in the New York Magazine (overviewing a few dozen recent studies on the topic): praising the effort rather than the intelligence or, even better formulated, praise needs to be specific. Could have certainly worked much better also in my case, though it wasn't my parents who didn't do their job properly :-). But the magnitudes observed even in very simple one-time experiments are simply unbelievable (plain counter-intuitive, from some point onwards). This clearly calls for more research and for seriously trying to formalize the findings by means of a model (again, we are faced with soft, descriptive social sciences, on the one hand vs. economics, on the other hand). And the NYMag author's self-impressions, in the end, even as a parent, are spoiling somewhat the spirit of the article so far. But it is still interesting.

The link is via Tyler Cowen on MR.

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