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Rewarding children for being helpful undermines future altruism

Will giving children rewards for being kind increase the likelihood that they will be helpful in the future?

A study published in this month?s Developmental Psychology has found that rewarding 10 month old children, with either praise or a toy, for being helpful reduces the chances of that child being altruistic in the future. What the researchers found was that young children have a strong natural tendency to help others yet this can be undermined by the type of feedback adults give them.

The study supports previous research which revealed that when adults reward young people for a drawing activity, which the child freely chooses to do, they undermine the young person?s future motivation to draw.  Together these findings show that rewarding young people for their intrinsic motivation undermines future behaviour, because it teaches the child that doing the activity leads to a toy or praise and not to the enjoyment of the activity itself. To read the article click here

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