Giving someone a compliment or financial incentive can lead to a boost in their performance, be it at workplace or in a classroom, a new study published in the journal PLoS ONE reveals. Japanese researchers led by Professor Norihiro Sadato, from the National Institute for Physiological Sciences, recruited 48 adults who were made to perform a specific finger pattern of pushing keys on a keyboard as fast as possible for 30 seconds. The participants were divided into three groups, the first group received compliments from an evaluator after performing the pattern correctly, the second group watched others receive a compliment while the third group was asked to rate their own performance on a graph.
When asked to repeat the pattern on the next day, the researchers found that those who belonged to the group who received compliments performed better than those who were in the other two groups. The researchers said that giving a compliment for job well done activates an area of the brain known as the striatum.
“We’ve been able to find scientific proof that a person performs better when they receive a social reward after completing an exercise. There seems to be scientific validity behind the message ‘praise to encourage improvement.’ Complimenting someone could become an easy and effective strategy to use in the classroom and during rehabilitation”, Sadato said.