A team of researchers at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) explored why we prefer the naturally talented over hard workers. The study is published in the journal Child Development.
Understanding Naturalness Bias
A naturalness bias is defined as a preference for things perceived as natural. In psychology, it refers to the implicit preference for ‘natural’ in-born talent over hard-working strivers who expend effort to attain equal achievement.
The researchers surveyed 350 adults and 300 children (aged 5–6 years) in Mainland China. They evaluated the participants’ preference for a natural or striver protagonist of equal achievement.
The results revealed that children have a naturalness bias, tending to attribute greater competence and warmth to naturals than strivers. Adults, on the other hand, exhibit this preference only when attributing competence and not hard work. It was also found that this bias is carried forward and retained into adulthood.
The authors added: “Given the value we place on achievement, how we assess and perceive achievements matters. Although natural talent and hard work are both considered essential ways to achieve, our findings suggest that people actually prefer talented naturals over hard workers, and this naturalness preference exists in childhood and endures into adulthood.”
To Know More You May Refer To
Ma, S., Tsay, C., & Chen, E. E. (2022). Preference for talented naturals over hard workers emerges in childhood and shapes behavior. Child Development. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.13886