The research led by psychologists Mesmin Destin and Daphna Oyserman from the University of Michigan have found this lack of motivation occurs in children as young as 11 years of age.
During the study, researchers recruited seventh-grade students from low-income families.
They were either provided with information about need-based financial-aid opportunities available to them (i.e., open-path mind-set - that college was a possibility for them) or information about the enormous costs associated with a college education (i.e., closed-path mind-set - that college was not a viable option for them).
The results showed that mind-set matters.
When students, as young as 11 years of age, felt that college was an option for them, they expected to do better in school and planned on putting more effort into studying and homework, compared to students who did not view college as a realistic possibility.
If a student thinks they won't be able to afford a higher education they may conclude that studying and homework are a waste of time.
The authors note that parents and children from low-income families "should learn about the financial accessibility of college early, before gaps in student achievement levels emerge and some fall behind."
The study appears in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. (ANI)