EFFECTS OF EFFORT PRAISE: THE MODERATING ROLE OF THE INVERSE RULE BETWEEN ABILITY AND EFFORT
 
Yim, P.S. and Lam, S.F., The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR
 
Praise for effort has been found to foster positive responses in achievement settings (Mueller & Dweck, 1998; Schunk, 1982). However, the positive effects of effort praise can be moderated by people's beliefs on the relationship between ability and effort. We hypothesize that students who believe in an inverse relationship between ability and effort would not benefit from effort praise. With belief in the inverse relationship between ability and effort, students would think that hardworking students are less able than those who do not need to work hard. Effort praise, which explicitly acknowledges people's effort, can be perceived as a low ability cue for students who endorse the inverse rule. In this study, 7th graders' inverse rule endorsement was initially assessed by a questionnaire. After completing the questionnaires, participants worked on a Chinese idiom anagram after which they received the effort praise. Their achievement responses (e.g., task enjoyment and self-evaluation) were then measured. Results showed that participants who endorsed the inverse rule displayed less task enjoyment on the anagram and more negative self-evaluation after receiving the effort praise than those who did not endorse the inverse rule.