The “Batman Effect”: Improving Perseverance in Young Children

Rachel E. White, Emily O. Prager, Catherine Schaefer, Ethan Kross, Angela L. Duckworth, Stephanie M. Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


This study investigated the benefits of self-distancing (i.e., taking an outsider's view of one's own situation) on young children's perseverance. Four- and 6-year-old children (N = 180) were asked to complete a repetitive task for 10 min while having the option to take breaks by playing an extremely attractive video game. Six-year-olds persevered longer than 4-year-olds. Nonetheless, across both ages, children who impersonated an exemplar other—in this case a character, such as Batman—spent the most time working, followed by children who took a third-person perspective on the self, or finally, a first-person perspective. Alternative explanations, implications, and future research directions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1563-1571
Number of pages9
JournalChild development
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

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    White, R. E., Prager, E. O., Schaefer, C., Kross, E., Duckworth, A. L., & Carlson, S. M. (2017). The “Batman Effect”: Improving Perseverance in Young Children. Child development, 88(5), 1563-1571.