Naturals and Strivers: Preferences and Beliefs about Sources of Achievement
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CitationTsay, Chia-Jung, and Mahzarin R. Banaji. 2011. “Naturals and Strivers: Preferences and Beliefs About Sources of Achievement.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 47 (2) (March): 460–465. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2010.12.010.
AbstractTo understand how talent and achievement are perceived, three experiments compared the assessments of “naturals” and “strivers." Professional musicians learned about two pianists, equal in achievement but who varied in the source of achievement: the “natural” with early evidence of high innate ability, versus the “striver” with early evidence of high motivation and perseverance (Experiment 1). Although musicians reported the strong belief that strivers will achieve over naturals, their preferences and beliefs showed the reverse pattern: they judged the natural performer to be more talented, more likely to succeed, and more hirable than the striver. In Experiment 2, this “naturalness bias” was observed again in experts but not in non-experts, and replicated in a between-subjects design in Experiment 3. Together, these experiments show a bias favoring naturals over strivers even when the achievement is equal, and a dissociation between stated beliefs about achievement and actual choices in expert decision-makers.
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