NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1176107
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-May
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1467-7687
Telling Young Children They Have a Reputation for Being Smart Promotes Cheating
Zhao, Li; Heyman, Gail D.; Chen, Lulu; Lee, Kang
Developmental Science, v21 n3 May 2018
The present research examined the consequences of telling young children they have a reputation for being smart. Of interest was how this would affect their willingness to resist the temptation to cheat for personal gain as assessed by a temptation resistance task, in which children promised not to cheat in the game. Two studies with 3- and 5-year-old children (total N = 323) assessed this possibility. In Study 1, participants were assigned to one of three conditions: a smart reputation condition in which they were told they have a reputation for being smart, an irrelevant reputation control condition, or a no reputation control condition. Children in the smart reputation condition were significantly more likely to cheat than their counterparts in either control condition. Study 2 confirmed that reputational concerns are indeed a fundamental part of our smart reputation effect. These results suggest that children as young as 3 years of age are able to use reputational cues to guide their behavior, and that telling young children they have a positive reputation for being smart can have negative consequences.
Wiley-Blackwell. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8598; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A