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Experimentation Critique Essay

1448 words - 6 pages

Experimentation Critique PAGE \* MERGEFORMAT 1
Running head: Experimentation CritiqueExperimentation CritiqueExperimentation Critique"Pleasure derived by children from cognitive challenge and mastery" describes a research by Susan Hater. In this article, two studies illustrate a positive linear connection involving pleasure and choice of level of difficulty. Suggestion is made that people receive the most pleasure in solving the most challenging task and that children who were given the most difficult problem rated their performance negatively because of the increase in time and struggle. She suggests that the relationship between pleasure and challenge is not linear, but curvilinear. Susan Harter forecasts that in the absence of grades, children will actively seek out optimally challenged problems. These problems are relatively difficult for children but when properly solved, also produce the most pleasure. She also suggests that in the presence of grades, children would choose to solve less challenging problems because of their desire to do well and get a good grade.Harter's experiment involved a total of 40 sixth graders, 20 girls and 20 boys, all from the same school. The boys and girls were evenly assigned to the two conditions, "game" or "grade". In the first phase, all the children were exposed to assignments of four varying difficulties. They were given 120 seconds to make a word using all of the provided letters. In the second phase, the students chose which assignments they wanted to do. The "game" group was informed that it was a game, whereas the "grade" group was told they were going to be evaluated using a letter grade. The independent variable was grades: whether they received them or not. There were several dependent variables: difficulty choice, smiling, and children's reasons for choosing the assignments they chose. The experimenters measured solution time and smiling. Participants also rated assignment difficulty and their own competence levels. Harter found that assignment difficulty is inversely related to children's subjective level of competence. She also found that there was a clear connection between smiling and assignment difficulty for the first three levels of difficulty, and that smiling dropped significantly in the most challenging level. Harter also found that children in the "game" group chose more challenging assignments and that these children also smiled significantly more. There was also significantly more smiling when the children solved the more challenging problems. The children in the "game" group also verbally expressed that had they been in the "grade" group, they would have chosen easier assignments. The children in the "grade" group would have chosen more challenging assignments had they been in the "game" group. These results support Harter's hypotheses that children would choose to solve easier problems in the presence of grades, suggesting that extrinsic rewards lower their desire to be challenged....

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