New Study Reveals The Power of a Compliment

By Emily Murray

Who doesn’t like receiving a compliment?

While most of us will agree that it’s nice to be recognized for our hard work, perhaps we have been overlooking just how powerful this type of reward system is.

Bosses take note – verbally complimenting your employees can be just as powerful as rewarding them with cash.

According to a new study from Japan, compliments can greatly improve performance in most areas of life from school to the workplace. Evidence found that when people receive “social rewards” they actually perform better in the next task. In fact, the area of the brain (called the striatum) that is activated when cash is given to a person also becomes activated in response to this social praise.

The study consisted of 48 participants who took part in a test that required them to learn how to push keys on the keyboard in a specific finger pattern as fast as they could in 30 seconds. After successfully mastering the sequence of keystrokes the participants were then placed into 3 groups. The first group had an a person who would evaluate performance and compliment participants, the second consisted of those who watched another member of the group receive a compliment and the third rated their own performance by marking it on a graph.

The result?

The following day all participants were asked to perform the same task once again. The highest performing group was the one that received compliments directly from the supervisor.

When self esteem is addressed and boosted by a person who we are working for, we subconsciously improve our performance as a result.