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"The refusal of praise is only the wish to be praised twice."

--Fran├žois de La Rochefoucauld

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In its common usage, praise is the act of making positive statements about a person, object or idea, either in public or privately. Praise is typically, but not exclusively, earned relative to achievement and accomplishment. Praise is often contrasted with criticism, where the latter is held to mean exclusively negative statements made about something, although this is not technically correct (see also Blame).

In religion, praise is an impassioned exaltation of God (ie. a Supreme Being, or Creation), typically as an expression of gratitude for one's life or being. In other cases, praise may be tied to more situational aspects of living, such as health and prosperity.

Psychology of praise

Most people are responsive to praise and will increase in self-esteem or confidence if a suitable amount of praise is received. Some psychological theories hold that a person's life is comprised largely of attempts to win praise for their actions. However, some people are less affected by or even averse to praise, for example people with autism or schizoid personality disorder.

Praise is an integral part of many religions, for example Christianity and Islam, which hold that God is a supreme being who is worthy of praise. The Biblical book of Psalms is a collection of hymns and poems, many of which praise Yahweh.

In Christianity, the word refers specifically to extoling or exalting God and his attributes. Praise can be a portion of a service of worship, a period of singing ("praising God") usually before the more formal part, hence the term "praise and worship" to describe the whole event.

Using praise with children

Common advice is that praise should not be given to children without reason.

  • Reward the attainment of specifed goals, not just participation, of the child.
  • Praise small changes and successes. Waiting for perfection may take forever.
  • Be descriptive and specific with praise.
  • A lot of praise is required to outweigh one criticism. Researchers suggest a ratio of 6:1.
  • Ensure praise being given to the child is deserved.
  • Encourage good behaviour with praise, rather than pointing out bad behaviour.
  • Praise progress is in relation to an individuals past progress, NOT compared with others.
  • Teachers should NOT praise uninvolved students for not disrupting the class.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Praise" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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