Graduate psychology student Allison Master explores what motivates children to choose challenging tasks over easy ones.
Master says that students’ beliefs—such as the conviction that intelligence can grow—play an important role in motivation. Her research investigates the origins of these beliefs, their consequences, and ways teachers and parents can foster greater motivation in students of all ages.
Working with professor Carol Dweck, a leading expert in motivation and personality psychology, Master dedicates a lot of time to running experiments at Stanford’s Bing Nursery School.
She and Dweck have designed a storybook with a narrative incorporating factors found to increase motivation. Master’s dissertation examines how books like that teach children to take on challenges and persist with a task over time.
Her other projects include a study on how working in a group motivates children. Master says the ultimate goal of her research is to help children learn better and be more successful in school.