The Effects Types of Praise Has on College Students' Self-Theories

Document Type


Publication Date



Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Pam Bacon, Psychology


Although research suggests that young children's attitudes toward a task can be affected by the type of praise they receive, the impact of praise on college students is unclear. In this study, college students were either praised for their puzzle solving ability or for their effort. It was hypothesized that after failure, students praised for their effort would hold an incremental self-theory and show adaptive responses, whereas students praised for their ability would hold an entity self-theory and show maladaptive responses. The effects seen in praise studies with children were not replicated in this college age sample. The inability of praise to impact college students' thoughts and performance could have been due to the design of the study or lack of participants. Additional studies are needed to determine if praise affects college students' beliefs and performance.