July 29, 2012

Is praise good or bad?

Is it detrimental to praise a child for their intelligence or abilities? As a society we tend to praise and show admiration of our young for their intelligence or abilities. The problem with praising a child is not the act, but how it’s conveyed and how it’s delineated to the individual child. Praising a child for their intelligence and not for their effort or hard work will harm them emotionally in the future.  By praising a child for their ability you are opening them up to not only potential failure, but disappointment should they not be as successful the next time around.  Praising a child for their ability draws attention to them and makes a big deal of the accomplishment, regardless of whether it is from effort or intelligence and ability.

    There is research that supports this thinking about the effects of praise. In 1998, Dr. Carol C. Dweck, a psychologist from Columbia University, published some startling findings.  She administered a simple test to over 700 school-age children in New York City. Afterwards, researchers praised half the group for their intelligence and ability with phrases such as “you are so smart” or “you really used your brains on that test.” For the other group, she praised them for their effort and the hard work in getting the grade that they received.  Later, she offered the group a choice of an easy and a harder test. One test was the same level as the previous and the other was slightly harder. Surprisingly, the majority of the students praised for their intelligence picked the same test level as before and those that were praised for their effort and hard work chose the harder test. Dr. Dweck (1998) found that children praised for effort increased their test score by 30% and those praised for their intelligence scored 20% lower. 

     Dr. Dweck explains that when a child is praised for their intelligence, this puts that child in a fixed mindset that then leads to avoidance of new challenges in the future because of a fear of looking less intelligent. Dr. Dweck’s research suggests to all parents, teachers and leaders that praise of a child should be for hard work, perseverance and resiliency; she called this a growth mindset (Dweck, 1998).     

     In 2006, Dr. Dweck expanded the study to adults and those in leadership positions, and again the results were remarkable. She found that those with growth mindsets were willing to embrace challenges, learn from criticism and adapt by applying themselves with more effort in order to overcome tough assignments in the workplace. The opposite was true for those who were of a fixed mindset, and they instead tended to run away from challenges, had no resilience, made no effort to finish the job, and avoided unfavorable criticism. Furthermore, those from a fixed mindset perspective must continue to validate their expectations and abilities on the job. Those with a mindset opposite to that of a fixed mindset embraced new challenges, didn’t rely on others to validate them, and were open to potential for getting the job done.   

    Therefore, the bottom line is that praise and motivation of your child with an emphasis on their innate intelligence will be detrimental to their future in society. Instead one should praise children for hard work and perseverance. In this way, they will surely succeed as a child and in future work. To reemphasize, praise for effort, rather than intelligence, fosters a growth mindset that highlights the notion that taking risks and putting forth effort can bring with it rewards, even if the risk of getting there is uncertain.  These findings are the same for both children and adults.

Derrick Darden, PhD

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July 29, 2012

Is praise always a good thing?

Is it detrimental to praise a child for their intelligence or abilities? As a society we tend to praise and show admiration of our young for their intelligence or abilities. The problem with praising a child is not the act, but how it’s conveyed and how it’s delineated to the individual child. Praising a child for their intelligence and not for their effort or hard work will harm them emotionally in the future.  By praising a child for their ability you are opening them up to not only potential failure, but disappointment should they not be as successful the next time around.  Praising a child for their ability draws attention to them and makes a big deal of the accomplishment, regardless of whether it is from effort or intelligence and ability.

    There is research that supports this thinking about the effects of praise. In 1998, Dr. Carol C. Dweck, a psychologist from Columbia University, published some startling findings.  She administered a simple test to over 700 school-age children in New York City. Afterwards, researchers praised half the group for their intelligence and ability with phrases such as “you are so smart” or “you really used your brains on that test.” For the other group, she praised them for their effort and the hard work in getting the grade that they received.  Later, she offered the group a choice of an easy and a harder test. One test was the same level as the previous and the other was slightly harder. Surprisingly, the majority of the students praised for their intelligence picked the same test level as before and those that were praised for their effort and hard work chose the harder test. Dr. Dweck (1998) found that children praised for effort increased their test score by 30% and those praised for their intelligence scored 20% lower. 

     Dr. Dweck explains that when a child is praised for their intelligence, this puts that child in a fixed mindset that then leads to avoidance of new challenges in the future because of a fear of looking less intelligent. Dr. Dweck’s research suggests to all parents, teachers and leaders that praise of a child should be for hard work, perseverance and resiliency; she called this a growth mindset (Dweck, 1998).     

     In 2006, Dr. Dweck expanded the study to adults and those in leadership positions, and again the results were remarkable. She found that those with growth mindsets were willing to embrace challenges, learn from criticism and adapt by applying themselves with more effort in order to overcome tough assignments in the workplace. The opposite was true for those who were of a fixed mindset, and they instead tended to run away from challenges, had no resilience, made no effort to finish the job, and avoided unfavorable criticism. Furthermore, those from a fixed mindset perspective must continue to validate their expectations and abilities on the job. Those with a mindset opposite to that of a fixed mindset embraced new challenges, didn’t rely on others to validate them, and were open to potential for getting the job done.   

    Therefore, the bottom line is that praise and motivation of your child with an emphasis on their innate intelligence will be detrimental to their future in society. Instead one should praise children for hard work and perseverance. In this way, they will surely succeed as a child and in future work. To reemphasize, praise for effort, rather than intelligence, fosters a growth mindset that highlights the notion that taking risks and putting forth effort can bring with it rewards, even if the risk of getting there is uncertain.  These findings are the same for both children and adults.

Derrick Darden, PhD

January 18, 2008

Men in crisis (middle-age)

    By the time everyone reaches their mid-age they will have experienced some major transition in life such as a new job, a new wife, or a new child. The most commonly known major transition for middle age adults is called by many “midlife crisis,” I call it “finding one’s identity.” The famous psychologist, Carl Jung, calls this the psychological change.”  He further states, that many of our values and beliefs carried in the first half of life we should let go and face the second half unconsciously.  He suggests taking up a creative activity, such as art or writing. 

 

  Who goes through this midlife crisis?  Researchers point out that serious midlife problems are actually experienced by only 2 % to 5 % of middle-aged. Louis Tamir calls this period a deep-seated, self-doubts of confusion.

    Much of the evidence against the existence of widespread midlife crisis seems to me to be compelling.  For example, Costa and McCrae developed a midlife crisis scale that includes items about a sense of inner turmoil, a sense of failing power, marital dissatisfaction, and job dissatisfaction.  When they used this scale in a cross-sectional study of over 500 men ages 35-70, they concluded that there is no particular age when deep depression occurs.     The most effected ethnic group is white males and the suicide rate is higher than other subgroups, which remain high well into old age. One reason this group is affected the most is they are usually well educated and they have more extravagant dreams, according to experts.     Many couples that experience turbulence during this period, studies point to the major cause as being martial dissatisfaction.  Professional counseling seen to become the only variable remedy, couples need to talk it out and avoid the divorce courts. 

January 9, 2008

It’s not over until Obama wins!!!!

NH, is only the beginning of a highly contested run for the White House between Obama and Hill-Billy Clinton. Hillary, I feel used the old defeatist mentality (cry baby) in order to draw on the emotions of the women voters. Come on people — see through the smoke screen.

January 5, 2008

What Obama can do for America?

In my opinion, becoming the first Black President of the United States speaks loudly and exemplifies towards other nations that we condemn slavery, and the negative laws that propagated enslavement. Obama’s presidency, will not only affirm, but solidifies those States apologizing for their participation in slavery. This would be a concrete sign and declaration that America has begun the reconcillation towards a unity for all people. I believe that an Obama presidency would truly unite the message that was so eloquently penned in our Constitution that “all men are created equal.” Obama message will unite Americans concerns and common issues, such as the war in Iraq, our beleaguered economy and affordable health care for all Americans.

Some may say, is America ready for a Black President? My response to that question is was America ready for the first Black Baseball Player to enter the major leagues? The right person took on the challenge, named Jackie Robinson. Was corporate America ready for Black CEOs running multinational corporations? The right people came along and brought prosperity to these Corporations such as Aetna, American Express and Time Warner. The right people took on the challenges they were Kenneth Chenault, Ron Williams and Richard Parsons. Obama is the right person for the job at hand. As president, I believe he is the right person to rectify the numerous ills that are plaguing America.

January 5, 2008

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