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Kids Perform Boring Tasks Better When Dressed As Batman

In news that could easily apply to some adults we all know, comes some recent research which has found that kiddos perform boring tasks better when dressed as Batman.

Researchers wanted to see what makes kids stay on task when presented with the very real-world distraction of an iPad.

Children aged 4-6 were given a boring computer task to do for 10 minutes.

The thing was, they were also told that, if they got bored, they could play a game on the iPad, located nearby in another room.

The 180 kids were assigned to one of three conditions:

A control group, which asked the children to think about their thoughts and feelings as they went through the task and ask themselves “Am I working hard?”

The second group was asked to think of themselves in the third-person, for example (if the kid’s name is Hannah), “Is Hannah working hard?”

In the third condition, the kids were asked to think about someone else who is really good at working hard. They could pick from some well-known superhero types: Batman, Bob the Builder, Rapunzel, and Dora the Explorer. These kids could dress up as the character they picked and then were asked, “Is Batman working hard?”

So, for 10 minutes, the kids were able to move between boring “work” and the iPad. During which, they were reminded every minute of their “condition” (“is Dora working hard?”). All the kids were told, “This is a very important activity and it would be helpful if you worked hard on this for as long as you could.”

Perseverance was measured as time spent on the ‘work’ task.

In a result that surprised absolutely no one, the kids spent 37% of their time on the ‘work’ task, and 63% on the iPad.

But those kids pretending to be superheroes ‘worked’ more than those who thought of themselves in the third person, and both of those groups did better than the kids who just thought of themselves as ‘me’.

Authors therefore called the study “The “Batman Effect”: Improving Perseverance in Young Children”.

So if you suddenly see Davo in accounting dressed as Batman, don’t pay him out too much, he’s just trying to get more done before the Christmas break.

Quartz

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