Individual differences in response to attributional praise in an online learning environment

Qin Zhao, Xiaoxia Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This study investigated how gender and beliefs about ability moderate the effects of attributional praise feedback on college students’ task motivation and performance in an online environment. We conducted a 3 (praise type: ability vs. effort vs. none) × 2 (gender: male vs. female) × 2 (belief about ability: entity vs. incremental) between-subjects factorial experiment with 196 college students. Analysis of variance of the data detected significant interactions between praise and gender on the main outcome variables. Overall, praise feedback had significantly positive impact on male participants’ task performance, self-efficacy, and intrinsic motivation; whereas for female participants, praise feedback had no significant effects on these variables. Additionally, there is a trend (albeit non-significant) interaction between praise type and belief type on task effort, indicating that for entity-belief group, ability praise feedback tended to positively influence task effort whereas for incremental-belief group, effort praise feedback tended to positively impact task effort. Implications of these findings for theory and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1069-1087
Number of pages19
JournalEducational Technology Research and Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Attributional feedback
  • Beliefs about ability
  • Gender
  • Performance
  • Praise
  • Self-efficacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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