Infants make more attempts to achieve a goal when they see adults persist

TitleInfants make more attempts to achieve a goal when they see adults persist
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsLeonard, JA, Lee, Y, Schulz, L
Pagination1290 - 1294
Date PublishedOct-09-2018

Persistence, above and beyond IQ, is associated with long-term academic outcomes. To look at the effect of adult models on infants’ persistence, we conducted an experiment in which 15-month-olds were assigned to one of three conditions: an Effort condition in which they saw an adult try repeatedly, using various methods, to achieve each of two different goals; a No Effort condition in which the adult achieved the goals effortlessly; or a Baseline condition. Infants were then given a difficult, novel task. Across an initial study and two preregistered experiments (N = 262), infants in the Effort condition made more attempts to achieve the goal than did infants in the other conditions. Pedagogical cues modulated the effect. The results suggest that adult models causally affect infants’ persistence and that infants can generalize the value of persistence to novel tasks.

Short TitleScience

Research Area: 

CBMM Relationship: 

  • CBMM Funded