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Look up "positive reinforcement", it's a critical piece of context for the discussion at hand. The point is to make sure it's actually reinforcing the desired behavior without undesirable side effects.

But that's my point. You want to reinforce desired behavior, which in this case is effort. If you do something without effort, then what is there to warrant praise?

Whether the task would have required effort by some other hypothetical person isn't really relevant to the point. It would be appropriate to praise me for completing a marathon, but not Haile Gebrselassie.

I think the disconnect here is that you're starting from the premise that effort is the only thing that should be praised.

To start with, that fails to account for things like moral and ethical choices that don't require significant effort, but should still be praised when the correct choice is made.

More seriously, it distorts self-esteem and worldview. Results become unimportant, it is effort alone that matters. A child raised in such an environment will get its ass kicked in the real world where nobody cares about effort, only results.

Effort must be encouraged as a means to an end, not the end itself.

Well, moral and ethical choices aren't really the topic of the article, development of skills is, so that seems like a separate subject.

However, it doesn't seem to me that praising someone for not stealing every day is a good idea either. You should not steal because it's wrong, not because you get praised for it.

I don't know how you interpret the Dweck research as implying that results are unimportant. Why would you expend effort trying to accomplish something that is unimportant? Besides, the research shows that results improve when you encourage a growth mindset, regardless of your philosophical feelings about this.

Sorry, I was wrong. The disconnect is that you're not having anything like the conversation I'm having. I'm not interpreting any particular research done by any particular person, I'm speaking with regard to a particular action and child based on real-world personal experience and general informal psychological education.

Comment threads frequently run far away from the specifics of the originally linked article. You're imbuing the conversation with a context that isn't entirely there.

Ah, ok. I think we're on the same page now. Sorry to impart thoughts to you that weren't there.

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