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The Use of Descriptive Praise to Increase Diversity During Easel Painting

Lopez, Kristina MEd; Dewey, Andrea MEd; Barton, Erin E. PhD; Hemmeter, Mary Louise PhD

doi: 10.1097/IYC.0000000000000088
Original Research/Study

The purpose of this article was to describe 2 studies that examined the relation between descriptive praise and generalized diversity of forms and colors used during art activities in young children. Study I used a true reversal design to examine the relation between descriptive praise and diversity during art activities. All 4 children had small increases with descriptive praise, but there was considerable variability across children and conditions. In Study II, a multiple probe design was employed across 3 children to examine the relation between descriptive praise and diversity of forms and colors used in art activities. All 3 children used more diverse forms and colors with descriptive praise, although increases were small.

Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee.

Correspondence: Erin E. Barton, Vanderbilt University, 230 Appleton Place, Peabody 228, Nashville, TN 37203 (

The authors thank Mark Wolery, whose expertise, mentorship, and support greatly facilitated this work and the work of countless other graduate students. The authors also recognize Ruth Wolery and Kiersten Kinder, whose leadership at the Susan Gray School made these and many other research projects feasible. Finally, the authors thank the children, families, teachers, and staff of the Susan Gray School, and the Special Education graduate students at Peabody College whose participation and support made these studies possible.

The authors have declared no financial conflicts of interest.

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