NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1050015
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Sep
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
A Bias for the Natural? Children's Beliefs about Traits Acquired through Effort, Bribes, or Medicine
Lockhart, Kristi L.; Keil, Frank C.; Aw, Justine
Developmental Psychology, v49 n9 p1669-1682 Sep 2013
Three studies compared beliefs about natural and late blooming positive traits with those acquired through personal effort, extrinsic rewards or medicine. Young children (5-6 years), older children (8-13 years), and adults all showed a strong bias for natural and late blooming traits over acquired traits. All age groups, except 8- to 10-year-olds, treated natural and late-blooming traits as fixed essences that would persist over time and under challenging conditions. Older children and adults viewed traits acquired by intrinsic effort as more similar to natural and late-blooming traits than those acquired through bribes or medicine, suggesting that intrinsic effort itself comes to be seen as a more natural mechanism of change. A bias for the natural may therefore be an early emerging way of evaluating others that is reinforced by the ambient culture and becomes stronger with increasing age.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Connecticut
Grant or Contract Numbers: R37 HD023922