This creative idea just may be the trick to getting little ones to work harder.
According to a study by Rachel E. White and Emily O. Prager, published in the September – October issue of “Child Development,” children are more likely to work harder while dressed in a Batman costume.
The Dark Knight isn’t the only character costume inspiring kids to go above and beyond while performing regular tasks, however.
White and Prager found that kids dressed as Bob the Builder, Rapunzel and Dora the Explorer also appeared to work harder.
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“Taking a mental step back from one’s own situation could help children persevere in the face of distraction,” the study read.
White and Prager studied 180 4-and-6-year-olds, all of whom were asked to perform a repetitive task for 10 consecutive minutes.
They were told the task was important, though they were allotted brief breaks which included “playing an extremely attractive video game” on an iPad.
The children were placed in three separate control groups.
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In the first, participants referred to themselves in the first person. In the second, they spoke about their thoughts and feelings on the task in the third person.
Children in the third group took on the persona of the character they were dressed as.
Participants spent 37 percent of their time on the task and 63 percent of their time on the iPad, according to the World Economic Forum’s findings, published in cooperation with Quartz.
The older children studied were more apt to focus on the task at hand.
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Still, both 4-and-6-year-old participants who wore costumes performed the best.
“Perseverance is necessary throughout our lives, from children struggling to sound out each letter on the page as they learn to read, to college students studying organic chemistry late into the night,” the study read.
“Whether due to the tedium of the task at hand or the pull of the many more immediate gratifications that abound in our environments, success often requires persistence through some ‘unpleasure.'”