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September 25, 2013

"Science" Has Spoken

Unfortunately, our progressive public education system isn't listening:

The science is clear. Awards can be powerful motivators, but nonstop recognition does not inspire children to succeed. Instead, it can cause them to underachieve.

Carol Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford University, found that kids respond positively to praise; they enjoy hearing that they’re talented, smart and so on. But after such praise of their innate abilities, they collapse at the first experience of difficulty. Demoralized by their failure, they say they’d rather cheat than risk failing again.

In recent eye-tracking experiments by the researchers Bradley Morris and Shannon Zentall, kids were asked to draw pictures. Those who heard praise suggesting they had an innate talent were then twice as fixated on mistakes they’d made in their pictures.

By age 4 or 5, children aren’t fooled by all the trophies. They are surprisingly accurate in identifying who excels and who struggles. Those who are outperformed know it and give up, while those who do well feel cheated when they aren’t recognized for their accomplishments. They, too, may give up.

It turns out that, once kids have some proficiency in a task, the excitement and uncertainty of real competition may become the activity’s very appeal.

If children know they will automatically get an award, what is the impetus for improvement? Why bother learning problem-solving skills, when there are never obstacles to begin with?

Possibly related:

In econo-speak: "an increase in the unemployment rate makes finding an alternative job more difficult, which reduces the relative cost of effort." In human: People worked harder in states where finding a job was harder, since they were totally freaked out about being unemployed. Fascinatingly, the economists found that the least productive workers had the highest gains in measured effort -- possibly because they felt the most scrutinized in areas with high unemployment.

We are shocked.... shocked to find Science Denial in this establishment. Who do these folks think they are... Republicans?

Posted by Cassandra at September 25, 2013 06:31 AM

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Comments

So... Science has finally discovered basic human nature? Should we give it a prize?

Seriously, does anyone else wonder whether the reason that Mr. Obama is so completely inept at doing, um ...everything is because they gave him a Nobel Peace Prize for doing, um ...nothing?

Posted by: spd rdr at September 25, 2013 02:55 PM

He got elected for doing a whole lot of nothing too.

I still find it hard to believe that we elected a Senator with very little actual experience to the highest office in the land.

*sigh*

I thought McCain was unqualified, but next to Obama he had tons of experience.

Posted by: Cass at September 25, 2013 04:08 PM

Hi guys,
1. McCain *was* unqualified, but at least he was a no shit war hero. and yeah, he's also a huge jerk as a person.
2. BHO's Illinois electoral success was done the old fashioned Chicago dirty politics way. Surprise!

Best Regards,

PS: kinda weird; had literally just read the original article via a link from HotAir.

Posted by: CAPT Mike at September 26, 2013 02:18 AM

I have been a little disappointed and humiliated to realize, over the years, that my performance tends to peak early on before I get any encouragement, then to fall off once I get evidence that I've "made the grade." This surely is not a winning formula for excellence. A champion must have a drive that won't quit.

On the other hand, I do a good enough job and have a fairly stress-free life.

Posted by: Texan99 at September 26, 2013 11:13 AM

Tex, have I told you lately how much I admire your writing?

[High-five, Sly! :) ]

Posted by: Grim at September 26, 2013 11:16 AM

"Carol Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford University, found that kids respond positively to praise; they enjoy hearing that they’re talented, smart and so on. But after such praise of their innate abilities, they collapse at the first experience of difficulty. Demoralized by their failure, they say they’d rather cheat than risk failing again."

In my 20+ years of working with Scouts in a school district that is relentlessly "trophies for everyone" and "everyone is special", I see this time and time again. If they fail at something once, they quit. In fact, if they're not pretty sure of success they won't even try. Finally, if they do try something and succeed, the quality of the output doesn't matter. Telling them "O.K., you did do the minimum but it's not good, you have to do it again to pass" gets you quizzical looks and arguments from a lot of the kids.

Posted by: RonF at September 27, 2013 12:29 PM

You want the story of how BHO got to become U.S. Senator from Illinois?

The Democratic machine wanted a fresh face and BHO wanted elective office. Bright guy, looks good, speaks well, he got slated in the primary. The Dem operatives grabbed up the nominating papers of his primary opponent and got enough signatures disqualified that they were bumped off the ballot (of course, without machine support the opponent didn't have enough manpower or $ to do the same to Obama). So, bingo, Obama is an Illinois State Senator, as Illinois is one-party rule and Cook County and the City have been one-party rule for 70+ years.

Obama spends the next 8 years in the General Assembly as a back-bencher for the Dem party, voting the way he was told (sure, you get to cast a vote against the party once in a while to make it look good, but only if the party is assured of enough votes otherwise), and seeing how a handful of leaders runs an ostensibly republican (with a small "r") government by fiat.

Posted by: RonF at September 27, 2013 12:34 PM

Then a part fell off a truck. Very simple. A part falling off a truck helped put Obama in the White House.

That part got caught under a minivan. It dug into the gas tank. The van caught on fire. The pastor driving it, his wife and 3 of their kids got out. The other 6 kids ... didn't.

The truck was ID'd by several other truck drivers, who had been calling it by CB for miles to no avail as they noticed the loose part. When the State Police caught the guy and started asking him questions, he couldn't answer, as the State Police only knew and spoke English. Which is curious, because you have to be able to speak, read and write English to get a CDL so you can drive a semi.

Ah - but not in Illinois. Not if you give money to the examiner in the Illinois Secretary of State's driver services facility. Or so it was found.

At that point something unprecedented in Illinois history occurred. Instead of hanging the examiner out to dry with congratulations all around and trumpeting of how they were cleaning up corruption, the U.S. Attorney's office - appointed by a renegade Republican U.S. Senator who used his personal fortune to get elected, defeating the Combine's candidate - offered the examiner a deal. "Tell us who you gave the money to and we'll lighten your sentence."

The U.S. Attorney followed the money all the way to the Secretary of State's gubernatorial campaign fund. The successful gubernatorial campaign fund, for by that time George Ryan, who had been SoS, was now governor. After a very high-profile trial, and after the Governor declined to run for re-election, the by-then-ex-Governor of the State of Illinois went to prison. Making it 3 of the last 7 Governors of Illinois to do so. Since then we've run our record to 4 of 8, but I digress.

This got the Combine angry. At corruption? Oh, no. At the U.S. Attorney - and the sitting Republican Senator who had appointed him. So in an election where the GOP was nationally desperate to keep every Senate seat they could to maintain a very thin majority, the Illinois GOP funded a candidate in the GOP primary to run against a Republican incumbent. Said incumbent figured enough was enough and declined to run for re-election.

Posted by: RonF at September 27, 2013 12:46 PM

So the GOP put up a well-spoken candidate and he looked good. Then the newspapers got his sealed divorce records opened up. You have seen his ex-wife, she played "7 of 9" on Star Trek: Next Generation. One extremely attractive woman. I certainly liked watching her. And according to the divorce papers, so did her then-husband. At clubs in Paris, having sex with other men at his instigation. So he ended up resigning from the campaign.

This was bad timing. First, it was late in the campaign. Second, the head of the Illinois GOP, who also occupies elective office, had just had to resign his post because the U.S. Attorney caught him using public employees on public time to do political work - which is SOP in Illinois, mind you. So now the GOP has no candidate and no director, and had a reputation so bad that it took 30 days to convince someone to take the job, which left about 60 days to find a candidate and get him elected. The more conservative wing of the Illinois GOP pushed a far-right-wing candidate who didn't even live in the State and the GOP said "Great, let's let the right-wing nut jobs hang themselves" and went along.

He lost big, and Obama walked into a U.S. Senate seat. From which he spent most of his time running for President, and without which he'd have never made it.

Posted by: RonF at September 27, 2013 12:55 PM

In my 20+ years of working with Scouts in a school district that is relentlessly "trophies for everyone" and "everyone is special", I see this time and time again. If they fail at something once, they quit. In fact, if they're not pretty sure of success they won't even try. Finally, if they do try something and succeed, the quality of the output doesn't matter. Telling them "O.K., you did do the minimum but it's not good, you have to do it again to pass" gets you quizzical looks and arguments from a lot of the kids.

That has been my experience too, Ron.

A long time ago I wrote a post about Obama's much vaunted experience as an Illinois legislator. I'll have to dig that up.

Basically they put his name on every bill they put forward to pad his resume.

And then there was his legal career - he worked fewer hours in 4 years than most new lawyers work in 1. But he was busy writing all those autobiographies....

[thud]

How many people in their 20s have even done anything worth writing about?

Posted by: Cass at September 27, 2013 03:59 PM

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