Compliments can benefit campus morale

On December 3, 2013


According to Forbes, a 2012 study found that receiving a compliment provides a person with the same positive effect as receiving cash. While a compliment may not be what pays tuition and fees, it can surely provide the motivation needed to study for and pass exams.

In the study, 48 adults were taught to push keys on a keyboard in a specific sequence as many times as they could in 30 seconds. The adults were split into three groups; the first group was complimented by an evaluator, the second group complimented each other and the third group evaluated its own progress. The study found that the group complimented by the evaluators performed significantly better, according to Forbes.

Recently, students on campus started a compliments tradition because they felt it shouldn’t be abnormal to compliment strangers. The response they received reinforces the finding of the study that compliments have a positive effect.

The students stood between the Library and Cooper Hall, a path many students take to get to the Library on campus. Around this time of the semester, if students are headed to the Library, it’s likely because they are about to study and are stressing over exams.

If a compliment truly does have the same positive effect as receiving cash, the compliments from these students could be the boost a student needs to get through exam week.

If students were paid for every hour they studied, they would probably be more likely to do it. So if compliments affect the brain by providing the same motivation money does, then students would likely study with a much more positive attitude.

Receiving a compliment from a stranger tends to have even more value. If a stranger felt inclined to break awkward barriers to give a person a compliment, then it’s likely that it’s genuine. The group of students giving out “free compliments” is likely boosting the morale of students by doing something that requires little effort.

The group of students sharing the compliments reported last week it hopes it will carry on as a tradition long after the group graduates. For this tradition to carry on, it is vital that the group expands and includes many freshmen that can continue to maintain the group even as the senior members graduate and leave campus.

It shouldn’t be awkward to tell someone he or she has a beautiful smile, especially if that compliment can brighten that person’s day. Author Mark Twain’s famous quote, “I can live two months on a good compliment,” really sums up the value of a compliment. It provides motivation, and the fact that students can easily provide that motivation to each other should be reason enough to start a compliments tradition.

Ali Leist is a junior majoring in mass communications.

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