Praise is perhaps the most widely used technique to influence others. When used appropriately, praise can motivate people, make them feel better, and improve their social relationships. Often, however, praise fails to work as intended and may even cause harm. Psychological Perspectives on Praise reviews and integrates psychological theory and research to provide an overarching perspective on praise.

With contributions from leading scholars in the field, this book amalgamates diverse theoretical and empirical perspectives on praise. The book starts with providing an overview of prominent theories that seek to explain the effects of praise, including self-enhancement theory, self-verification theory, attribution theory, and self-determination theory. It then discusses several lines of empirical research on how praise impacts competence and motivation, self-perceptions (e.g., self-esteem and narcissism), and social relationships. It does so in a range of contexts, including children’s learning at school, employees’ commitment at work, and people’s behavior within romantic relationships. The book concludes by showing how praise can be understood in its developmental and cultural context.

Revealing that praise is a message rich in information about ourselves and our social environments, this book will be of interest to social, organizational, personality, developmental, and educational psychologists; students in psychology and related disciplines; and practitioners including teachers, managers, and counselors who use praise in their daily practice.

part I|35 pages

Central theories

part III|28 pages


chapter 8|8 pages

Learning about others to learn about the self

Early reasoning about the informativeness of others’ praise

chapter 9|9 pages

“You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and doggone it, people like you”

Differing reactions to praise among people with higher and lower self-esteem

part V|19 pages

Development and culture