In a 2008 Sally Forth comic strip, Sally attempted to offer her daughter some encouragement before taking her final exams. She declared, “You’re going to ace your finals, sweetie.” Sally expanded on this explaining, “And you know how I know? Because you’re the smartest, most gifted, brilliant kid there is!” Her daughter responded with, “You’d say the same thing if I were a full-blown idiot, wouldn’t you?” Sally replied with, “I guess you’ll never know” (Marciuliano & Keefe, 2008). Although this situation was used for the purpose of entertainment, did Sally tell her daughter the right thing?
The purpose of this story was to illustrate the importance of how people view themselves and their abilities. Numerous people view intelligence and other skills as gifts that they either have or they do not. If Sally were to do poorly on her final exams, it would be a devastating indication in her eyes, that she does not have the ability to do well. Despite what her mother claimed, she would not believe that she is the “smartest, most gifted, brilliant kid there is.” She therefore would place less value in studying as studying would serve no purpose if she was supposed to perform poorly anyhow. She would rather invest her time in something she is better at or enjoys. For some people, however, failure is not an indication that they do not have the ability to do well, but rather an indication that they must make some adjustments and never give up in order to gain that ability. The way people view their abilities and interpret the reasons for their behavior can be crucial in determining their success (Aronson et al., 2013).
Obsessed with understanding how people cope with failures, Psychologist Carol D...
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...and, in fact, increase crime as opposed to not participating in a program at all (Petrosino et al., 2003). These specific juvenile delinquents surprisingly found prison attractive. Research suggested that “Many delinquent youths feel alienated…delinquents view prison as a place where they can have friends and a community now lacking in their lives. Four walls and bars may, in some way, offer security and a sense of belonging” (Greater Egypt Regional Planning & Development Commission, 1979).
Given the amount of research that has been able to determine the lack of success of Juvenile Awareness Programs such as Scared Straight, it seemed practical to replicate these results in a randomized experiment and also offer a reason as to why these programs are not as successful as they are portrayed to be and suggest ways parents can mitigate this problem in their households.
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