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Praising a Preschooler for Being Smart Can Backfire, International Study Finds


October 31, 2017
Marva Hinton
Education Week

Telling a child how smart he or she is comes naturally to a lot of parents and early-childhood educators, but a new study of preschool children in China suggests that may do more harm than good.

The study was published in September in the journalĀ Psychological Science. It found that praising young children for their intelligence promoted cheating.

A team of international researchers led by Li Zhou, a professor at Hangzhou Normal University in the Zhejiang Province in east China, conducted an experiment with 300 preschool children in eastern China. Half of the children were 3 years old, and the other half were 5 years old.