Praise and Motivation

While it is natural for parents and teachers to praise children for their academic achievements, certain types of praise are more beneficial to motivation than others. The primary goal of our research is to identify ways of praising children that increase perseverance when they face challenges in the future. For example, research suggests that praising children's efforts and strategies as opposed to their personal traits helps to create resilience when they are later confronted with challenge. In another set of studies, we have found that praising children for task mastery and skill acquisition creates healthier motivational patterns than praising children for outperforming others. We continue to investigate these issues by working with elementary and middle school children who visit us at Reed College.

Selected Publications and Reports:

Haimovitz, K., & Corpus, J. H. (2011). Effects of person versus process praise on student motivation: Stability and change in emerging adulthood. Educational Psychology, 31, 595-609. [Download PDF]

Corpus, J. H., & Lepper, M. R. (2007).  The effects of person versus performance praise on children's motivation: Gender and age as moderating factors.  Educational Psychology, 27, 1-22. [Download PDF]

Corpus, J. H., Ogle, C. M., & Love-Geiger, K. E. (2006). The effects of social-comparison versus mastery praise on children’s intrinsic motivation. Motivation and Emotion, 30, 335-345.
[Download PDF]

Henderlong, J., & Lepper, M. R. (2002). The effects of praise on children's intrinsic motivation: A review and synthesis. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 774-795. [Download PDF]

Return to Current Studies