Evolution of the Self

On the paradoxes of personality

Praise as Manipulation: 6 Reasons to Question Compliments

As long as another’s praise doesn’t sound patently insincere, you’re likely to welcome it. Being richly recognized for what you do—or who you are—just feels good. It’s wonderfully confirming, as reassuring as it is validating. But praise has its dark side, too. . . . Read More

Praise as manipulation

Also, in workplaces where there are significant budget constraints, the "at-t-a boy" praise is used to control job dissatisfaction and to avoid awarding pay raises.

wow that is so true....good

wow that is so true....good point there

I wonder why no reference is

I wonder why no reference is made to the role of Teachers in mainstreamed schooling classrooms, and how they can and do use praise to cajole and manipulate young people to perform in ways that could be regarded as psychologically abusive.

Also called "grooming"

This kind of praise can also be seen as a type of "grooming". And I understand that people can be groomed into sexual submission quite effectively through this process, in or out of the work place.

Very interesting article. I

Very interesting article. I recently had an employer use compliments and praise to control my behavior and realized only after how effective she had been. This person used praise, not to "butter me up", but to make me feel guilty for bringing up discrepancies in my compensation. Fighting the need to reciprocate her affection made me uncomfortable enough, but having to go further and address her dishonesty now felt like a betrayal on my part. It was very crafty.

Needs more work

It is important to question the effects of praise--equally to question effects of punishment. Alfie Kohn has been doing that for several years and published numerous books, papers and articles on the detrimental effects of both: at home, in school, in relationships. Baumeister has also methodically accumulated evidence on how/why we use praise. E.g., he and colleagues have found patterns in workplace violence, a true contribution. This author may find informing himself will vastly improve his and the readers' understanding.

Yes I agree with the idea of

Yes I agree with the idea of being punished by praise. Really anything written by you I know will be concise, wise, insightful and just make me trust that there are some really switched on / in-tune people in the world Leon! This is praise I know:) Thank you for your contributions.

Fascinating article!

I am sure we all know people like this to one degree or another. Found this article interesting as it articulated quite accurately someone I work with....each step had him covered!

it's even crazier after

it's even crazier after reading this i realize i might be one of those people...i guess we are not perfect but why cant we be human and forgive and try to resolve the issues?

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

More information about formatting options

Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D., who holds doctorates in English and Psychology, is a clinical psychologist and author of Paradoxical Strategies in Psychotherapy.


Subscribe to Evolution of the Self

Current Issue

Let It Go!

It can take a radical reboot to get past old hurts and injustices.