Praise as a form of social interaction expresses recognition, reassurance or admiration. Praise is expressed verbally as well as by body language (facial expression and gestures).

Verbal praise consists of a positive evaluations of another's attributes or actions, where the evaluator presumes the validity of the standards on which the evaluation is based.[clarification needed][1]

As a form of social manipulation, praise becomes a form of reward and furthers behavioral reinforcement by conditioning. The influence of praise on an individual can depend on many factors, including the context, the meanings the praise may convey, and the characteristics and interpretations of the recipient.[2] While praise may share some predictive relationships (both positive and negative) with tangible (material) rewards, praise tends to be less salient and expected, conveys more information about competence, and is typically given more immediately after the desired behavior.[3]

Praise is distinct from acknowledgement or feedback (more neutral forms of recognition) and from encouragement (expressedly future-oriented).[2]

Praise is given across social hierarchy, and both within the ingroup and towards an outgroup; it is an important aspect in the regulation of social hierarchy and the maintenance of group cohesion, influencing the potential for political action and social upheaval. When given by a dominant individual it takes the form of recognition and reassurance; when given by a submissive to a dominant individual it takes the form of deference, admiration or exultation,[4] or deification. Praise of gods may form part of religious rites and practices (see for example prayer of praise and praise and worship).

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