How recognition affects motivation

From experience to meaning...

What is the effect of praise, of saying “Well done” to somebody? This new study shows the possible effects:

  • An experiment on recognition carried out among university students.
  • In randomly chosen tutorial groups, students scoring within the top 30% of their group on the first midterm test were publicly recognized.
  • No effect of recognition on the recipients’ performance on the second midterm.
  • Positive effect on non-recipients’ performance, local to those attending enough tutorials and being not too far off the cut-off grade.
  • Results consistent with conformity to group performance norm.

From the press release:

The researchers conducted an experiment with a cohort of more than 300 first-year students in the Netherlands who attended microeconomics tutorials in 15 pre-selected and stable groups. The top 30% students in 8 randomly chosen groups were unexpectedly praised for their performance on the first of the two midterm exams in front of their peers…

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