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Praise for the Process and Method


* This article is a creative fiction, and the names and place names used in the contents of the text are not absolutely consistent with facts.

In the early 2000s in the United States, there was an experiment with children in terms of pedagogy and cognitive psychology. This experiment was later referred to as a "Study of Praise" and was used as a reference for many other studies.



This experiment proceeded like this. Hundreds of elementary school children were randomly selected from a variety of backgrounds including race, family environment, and parent's economic power. The children's school grades were conditioned not to differ by more than 50% between the best child and the least child. In other words, students who were too good or too poor were excluded from this experiment.

They gave everyone a quiz about mathematics, science, humanities and common sense that they could do. Researchers have ruled out problems that seem too difficult or too easy for their students. This was also designed to reduce the statistical bias.


An important point of this experiment was that the researcher praised the student.
First, the students were given a "Praise for the Results". The researcher becomes a pair with a student and make the student solve the problem. The student gets a compliment by the result of solving the problem.
"Wow, you've sovle this problem."
"Could you solve this one too?"
"(If the student stick to the problem) You are really smart."
"Can you keep going? It's great."


In the course of such a few minutes, the researcher praised the student about the consequences of completing the problem, and suddenly the outside call was made to leave for 10 minutes. The researcher left the questionnaire and answer sheet on the desk while leaving the room. At this time, it was the part of the experiment to observe whether or not the subject student steals the problem and answer sheets or whether he does not do it with his self control.

This experiment explored how to develop student’s learning ability and morality in the pedagogy, and in the field of psychology and sociology, it was a quest to trace the causes of people's moral hazards and moral insensitivity.

84% of randomly selected elementary school students in the "Praise for the Results" experiment stole answer sheets. This part of the experiment gave a great shock to the researchers. This is because most students cheated while the researcher was away with ignoring all background conditions such as race, academic ability, home environment, and parent's economic power.


The students who cheat in an in-depth interview with the students who have followed them say: "I don’t know why I looked at the answer sheet, it’s may be because I got praise, and I felt good and I wanted to feel better, and then I had to keep on trying to find the good result." In academic terms, it was said that the children accepted the praise of the results as an emotional reward and then cheated to get the reward.

In the second stage of the "Praise for the Results" experiment, a setting was made the researcher leave the score sheet of the other students on the desk and go out. Then, more than 95 percent of cheating students peeped the scores of the other students

F. Smith, a prominent psychologist, said about this phenomenon as follows: "If a person praises a student for being smart, genius, or great about what they do, the student feels embarrassed and humiliated when he or she meets a situation in which they don’t. If the results are temporarily bad, , The person who gave the praise said, "Oh, it's not really that great when I look at it again.", “You're just plain normal.” will be hurt psychologically by destroying the positive image that was given to them as a reward in the past. There is that psychological pressure in the background of cheating."


Kenneth Lee, who is studying cognitive psychology based on information engineering, called this phenomenon that students are entangled with as "Obsession with Result Information". As a researcher, the student's actions give a praise focus on "outcome information", and a primary information flow cycle is created as the student receives emotional reward feedback on it. This is an information structure that is used over and over again in the future. Information structures act like software in the human brain.

Then, the student concentrates on the result information, and continues to think about it with an information structure that rewards feelings. During the operation of this information structure, students would not feel conscientious objection to cheating because it would be more important that they get fine result than anything else.


The researchers also decided to try this "Praise for the Results" experiment for adults. they also tested randomly selected hundreds of adults. The experiment was the same. Experimental results show that adults are weaker than children. The praise of the result information has instigated people to cheat. A woman who participated in the experiment confessed in a subsequent interview that she was embarrassed when if she got significantly lower scores than others, so she has cheated.

In addition, as the score record setting was added in the second experiment, the adults tended to steal the records first rather than making correct answer. It has been observed that the position where they are in the score is more important for adults.

The researchers planned another experiment. The name of the experiment was "Praise for the Process and Method". The subjects in this experiment were students who did not participate in the previous experiments. Again, students were randomly selected from a variety of backgrounds.

The "Praise for the Process and Method" experiment was as follows. The researcher gives the problem and answers as in the previous experiment. In the process, they give praise, but this time they have different points to compliment. In the previous experiment, they focused on the result information and praised it as a result that solving the problem, but in this experiment, students were interested in the process of thinking and solving problems, praising it for their interest in the way of students think.


These are examples of praise.
"How did you think that you could solve this problem?"
"That was amazing. How was the process of thinking that you make this choice?"
"Great, why did you think this was the right answer?"
"Can you explain the process of thinking you used to solve the problem?
"This is a fairly difficult problem, but it worked out calmly. What did you think during you’ve done this?"

And according to the scenario they set up, the researcher left the office after receiving an outside call. Of course, they left questionnaires and answers on the desk.

There was an amazing reversal in the test results. About 88% of students randomly selected from a variety of backgrounds, such as academic level and home environment, did not cheat because of their self-reliance. And what's even more surprising is that as the students progressed through the experiment, they became more and more likely to adjust their problems so that their average problem-solving abilities tended to improve themselves. The "Praise for the Process and Method" group gradually improved and grew themselves by solving the problem.

In a subsequent interview, the children said: "I was praised by the process of solving the problem and thought about it, so I enjoyed the time to solve the problem rather than think about getting high score. I did not want to cheat it because it can be disturbing to solve the problems when if I peep the answer sheet."


"I did not feel like I had to steal my answer sheet because I liked to solve the problem and I felt that I was being respected of my process, so I thought that cheating would hinder my ability to improve."

Kenneth Lee named this phenomenon "Focus on Relativity Information". The way people do things, concentrate on the process, and build an information structure based on it, and use it in their consciousness, then the person can improve over time without being affected by temporary results.

He said, "When you meet a problem, then if you rather do not cling to the results, think about why it happend, what you can do better from your point of view and your position, think about what order to do things, then you can be better in any situation. The reason for the difference in the ability of each person to have the same experience and receive the same education is because that the level of focus on the relavitivy information is different."

"What we call a person named genius, distinguished person, good person, etc. are the definition of existence, which defines by the result information and makes judgments on the basis of it. Anyone who calls it, or anyone who called by it, gets obsessed with the result information and responds their emotions, so it fails in the long run."


As a child, when trained in the lives of hundreds of people with special education with calling as the gifted, when they became adults, half of them could not achieve the normal level of academic achievement, even 10% of them were social maladjusted. They responded that they had a disgust with themselves that they had not been able to reach the expectation because their social expectations were too great.

The series of experiments above gave rise to a great deal of stereotypes about the praise that people usually have. They’ve got shcok about the fact that when they focused on the result information, even they praised as a positive reason, then the student's happiness decreased and they were tempted by cheating, which was an unethical and negative way. A public opinion of reflection rised that many moral threats and sociopathic behaviors have created by the social atmosphere and the social structure while people sticks to the result information.

This study attracted attention in that it could have a great impact on the person's self-esteem, moral judgment, and intellectual potential, depending on whether the person focuses on result information or relativity information. The lesson of this experiment was that it was more important to focus on where when we use the same praise.

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About Author

Hello, I’m Kenneth Lee. I'm a business man who live in South Korea and America. I work in the software company "Deduction Theory, LLC" as CEO.
I work with my younger brother Chase Lee. We study Logic, Mathematics, Science, and computer information theory subject. This blog is for explaining the other people about our study.
We also working on an open source computer programming education project, Rellat. I'm looking for a translating volunteer for this project. I think this project will help many children, students, adults who are living in all around world, especially low income people. This project is free for everyone. It's designed for helping people. I will also make schools and orphanages in low income countries to teach the kids computer programming for they can have a better job.
Please visit the web page below that introduces Rellat project and tell me if you think that is worthy to give your help.
Introducing Rellat: Open Source and Open Study Project 
There are Korean and English contents in this projects for translating to the other languages. I wrote all of them originally. So you can choose English or Korean from the original contents to translate whether you want.
We are opened to every language in the world. Thank you.
Hello. I'm Chase Lee who is working on Rellat Project with Kenneth Lee.
When I was a child, I used to make animation with adobe flash program. Then I wanted to make a game with it, so I start coding with action script. That was the first time I started programming.
The methodology of Deduction Theory is the same as the way I do my usual work.
In fact, when I look at the code that goes over 500 lines, I have no sense and I can not remember all of them. Even these days, I still can not remember some of simple code syntax, so I often google it.
Instead, I keep track of what kind of thinking the code was made in, and what relativity information it uses. This is a coding methodology, a coding style or a computing perspective in Deduction Theory
By understanding how to think, you can compare how handling information better. This is the essence, and the most important thing.
The remaining space in the program can be filled by the power of Google and stack overflow.
I think you also can do a massive high-quality information processing by this way without confusing into new technologies and tens of thousands of lines of codes that are constantly being created.

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