Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 333–343

The Effects of Social-Comparison Versus Mastery Praise on Children’s Intrinsic Motivation


    • Department of PsychologyReed College
  • Christin M. Ogle
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of California
  • Kelly E. Love-Geiger
    • Department of PsychologyReed College
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11031-006-9039-4

Cite this article as:
Corpus, J.H., Ogle, C.M. & Love-Geiger, K.E. Motiv Emot (2006) 30: 333. doi:10.1007/s11031-006-9039-4


Two studies examined the effects of social-comparison versus mastery praise on 4th- and 5th-grade children’s intrinsic motivation. Children received a high score and either social-comparison praise, mastery praise, or no praise for working on a set of novel puzzles. They then worked on a different task and were given either ambiguous feedback (Study 1) or positive feedback (Study 2) before completing measures of intrinsic motivation. Mastery praise enhanced intrinsic motivation and social-comparison praise curtailed it when uncertainty about children’s subsequent performance was introduced (Study 1) and, for girls, even in situations of continued success (Study 2). Social-comparison praise also tended to discourage children from seeking subsequent self-evaluative normative information. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.


Intrinsic motivation Praise Social Comparison Mastery Gender

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006