The Influence of Goal Value on Persistence in Exuberant Chinese Children

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Abstract

With regard to the study of temperament and motivation in young children, exuberance, an important temperamental characteristic of the approach motivational system, has been relatively understudied in comparison with behavioral inhibition. However, due to the relationship between exuberance and behavioral regulation (e.g., problem behavior, task persistence), it is an important topic of study. Accordingly, this study examined whether the incentive value of goals moderated the relationship between exuberance and persistence in 109 Chinese preschoolers. Children's temperamental exuberance was assessed by behavioral observation and parental report. Their persistence was measured in two goal-blocked contexts (tower-building [TB] and locked box [LB]). In each task, children were randomly assigned to either a high- or low-incentive condition designed to vary the incentive value of a given goal. Results suggested that exuberance was positively associated with persistence in the high-incentive condition of TB and in both conditions of LB. The results highlight the incentive value of goals as an important factor for behavioral regulation development in exuberant Chinese children.

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