Re: Is There Such A Thing As Too Much Encouragement?

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I first encountered the "Do you want a cookie?" thing when I started reading left-ish blogs. I understand the principle behind it, but in practice it always seems to be just obnoxious.

To the question in the post: while I suppose it's possible for too much praise for small things to have negative effects, I don't believe that I've ever actually seen it happen.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 7:36 AM
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For reference, the origin of the "do you want a cookie?" thing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 7:41 AM
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I understand the principle behind it, but in practice it always seems to be just obnoxious.

It's like one of those frustrating religious doctrines, where it doesn't matter whether you do a good deed, or even if you do a good deed because you have reasoned that it would be the right thing to do - what matters is whether it is in your nature to do good deeds.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 7:45 AM
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... and, incidentally, the original use of the cookie thing is very much [s]omeone demanding praise for meeting minimum standards is being a twerp. It seems like a weird stretch to apply it to not offering incentives to people who aren't necessarily demanding them, although I agree people use it that way online.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 7:48 AM
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That's such an amazing insightful comment LB, you're as inspiring as a clock full of rainbows. I can't imagine why people would worry about praise inflation ...


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 7:55 AM
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I'm very much still clueless about how to train people, but I worry a bit that I've made a mistake along these lines with the two grad students who are working with me. After they first presented some results and I told them it was nice work and suggested a number of ways to improve and build on it, they keep bringing me things of comparable quality to those first baby steps.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 7:55 AM
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Coates is a better writer than thinker, for sure.


Posted by: David the Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 7:57 AM
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However, isn't the idea with designated paternity leave basically an affirmative action quota? Rather than over praising as such.


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 7:58 AM
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The thing in 2 has been coopted by racists and assholes for so long it's kind of hard to separate from years of misuse. I think even Chris Rock has walked back on it.

Anyhow, I think LB gets it totally right here.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 7:58 AM
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I read TNC's piece and he did seem to be severely overreacting, taking it personally, and not seeing some of the workplace-related issues involved. He says he didn't think he was stigmatized by staying at home, but he was working as a (freelance?) writer. Much of the point of paternity leave policies and norms is targeted at making it possible to get men out of the workplace, if briefly, so they can be primary caregiver for a while.

Perhaps what he's reacting badly to praising is the idea of men being caregivers at all, and sure - that's more a baseline responsibility. But a policy that makes it acceptable or encouraged to take time off to be able to do so is different.

(Personal investment in this: My awesome-by-low-US-standards employer provides 7 weeks of paid leave for a non-childbearing parent, which I took all of, and which I have seen my co-workers take all of, and which is blissfully free of any kind of "You had better be keeping up with all of your email while the kid is napping" kind of pressure.)


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 7:59 AM
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TNC was just barely making an argument in this post to begin with, and in so far as he did make an argument he pretty much completely retracted it in comments.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:04 AM
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I would like a cookie.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:04 AM
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Isn't there a lot of social psychology research about how extrinsic rewards can be demotivating? There's one with kids and markers -- the kids that are rewarded for drawing are less likely to later pick up the markers on their own.


Posted by: Phil Houde | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:07 AM
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it's condescending and counterproductive to be handing out encouragement and praise for something people should be doing anyway.

See, this is an insane argument. You shouldn't be encouraging people to do things they should be doing? What madness is this?

(It also characterises paternity leave as a reward for doing childcare, which is a perverse way of looking at it. It's time off to allow you to do childcare - not the same thing. Sick leave isn't a reward for being sick.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:10 AM
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Much of the point of paternity leave policies and norms is targeted at making it possible to get men out of the workplace, if briefly, so they can be primary caregiver for a while.

Right. Plus, in our sad country, giving something to men legitimizes it -- makes it okay for women to have it.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:10 AM
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Internet discussions of men and childcare definitely reinforce for me the degree to which we live in a coastal enclave; I'm sure things are different in people's homes but as far as the visible signs of childcare (daycare dropoff and pickup, visits to parks and playground, kid-in-a-carrier or kid-in-a-stroller, staying home with sick kid) I feel like I see about as many men as women doing them.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:16 AM
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After they first presented some results and I told them it was nice work and suggested a number of ways to improve and build on it, they keep bringing me things of comparable quality to those first baby steps.

There is certainly a way to ratchet your expectations at a reasonable pace, and not give a false impression that baby steps are still nice work, ten weeks in. "Good start!" you say, "Are you clear on the next steps or do you need some guidance?"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:19 AM
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The real solution is to make both maternity and paternity leave mandatory. So say I!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:19 AM
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There's one with kids and markers -- the kids that are rewarded for drawing are less likely to later pick up the markers on their own.

But that's good. You don't want kids running round unsupervised drawing on everything with markers.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:20 AM
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18: the real solution is to devote one's fortune to developin' a way of producin' human beings unobtrusively from eggs, all parental responsibility to devolve upon the incubator, as I seem to remember I (or rather Opinionated Lord Peter Wimsey) remarked before.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:22 AM
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2: Humorless leftists can ruin even the most trenchant satire.

I agree that the Cookie Formulation totally mischarachterizes the issue. Like, as a white guy, I see all this "whaddya want, a cookie?" stuff, and I think, well, okay then asshole, see how well your 'movement' works once you take out all the men and white women. Be like 3 women of color sitting in a church basement somewhere arguing about Lacan, in NVC-speak. Yeah, that's going to lead to some revolutionary change, alright.

As someone with a queer-ish identity, I don't have any problem at all with straight people who are friendly to queers being praised for that. I mean, if they're doing it insincerely, that's a problem, but when you see people doing the hard work of breaking out of their ideology and really trying to advance their politics, then what, you're supposed to tell them they're awful and they should go sit in a corner and be shamefully silent? What the fuck kinda homes did people grow up in that they think that's either just or effective? These kids today, I don't know.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:28 AM
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My job gives gender-neutral parental leave for two months, but you have to be the child's primary caregiver during that time. I don't know what to say about the overpraising part.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:28 AM
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I think friendly-cheering of small accomplishments is basically being good-natured and courteous with your loved ones, as opposed to only being courteous with strangers and usually cranky with loved ones, as a way of channeling what the world dumps onto you*.

Don't get me wrong - I'm perfectly capably of being cranky. But it takes a toll on those around you, and should only be meted out in small doses.

*I know I usually complain about my brothers, but I have a whole set of different complaints about Jammies' brothers. Here's my favorite bratty-brother story from this past visit:
Jammies' brother's flight back got cancelled. He called up, and they were able to easily re-book him for the same day. As he got off the phone, he said, "You're lucky, Mom. I was getting so mad at you. If I were stuck here for more days, I was going to be so mad at you."

What he means is that he would have treated her like an asshole for the next few days, because something happened out of her control, to him. He is 24 years old! His mother is also a truly lovely, caring, awesome person.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:30 AM
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His mother is also a truly lovely, caring, awesome person.

And that's why I'm the asshole I am today.


Posted by: Jammies' Brother | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:34 AM
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According to some.


Posted by: Jammies' Brother | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:35 AM
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Quit using my email address, asshole.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:35 AM
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Creches! And other forms of communal childcare. Give us grandads something to fill their empty days. And parents some time off.

Just jumping in, not to troll, but to wonder again at the power of binary neoliberal individualism, where there are only two alternatives, egalitarian dadism or patriarchal momism, both channeled through controlling structures of employer and state.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:35 AM
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In math class, I think the right balance is to have super high expectations and praise the fuck out of every little bit of forward motion towards the goals. But it's of the "You're doing great! Keep going!" perseverance on the marathon variety of cheering, for the most part.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:38 AM
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Yeah, I don't think paternity leave is "praise for something people should be doing anyway", it's an economic inequality that places are now trying to fix (while admittedly most workforce inequalities run in the other direction.) I think our place fixed this and now gives equal paid leave, but last year my wife and I wanted to split the first 3 months and I had to burn all my vacation days while she got 2 weeks paid + 6 weeks partial (under short term disability)
I wrote this comment 18 comments ago before someone came into my office to talk so pretend it's something original.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:38 AM
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14 Sick leave isn't a reward for being sick.

Spoken like a true not-American.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:41 AM
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There's definitely a syndrome where holier-than-thou parents praise their kids all the time, leading to kids and possibly adults that are oblivious because they live in a bubble. It's the mindset of the NYTimes wedding announcements that we so enjoy mocking here, but less pervasively deployed.

I wouldn't say that's a consequence of excessive praise in the careful, ceteris paribus sense of consequence. But constant praise is definitely a component of that environment.

I don't think this objection of mine has anything to do with praise for paternal leave.

But all that said--- LB, really excellent choice for a post topic-- great job!


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:42 AM
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Have I told my very favorite Jammies' Brothers' story?

Mimi says, well ahead of time, Christmas dinner will be served at 2 pm on Christmas day. Everyone says ok and goes back to watching TV. As 2 pm comes and goes, the brothers (probably ages 22 and 26 at this point) keep watching TV, while food is sitting out and table is set, until Mimi says, "Can you guys please turn off the table and come join us?"

"BUT MOM" they yell "WE'RE WATCHING '8 SECONDS'!!" You know, everyone's favorite Luke Perry movie from circa 1994. "AND WE'RE RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE!"

They throw a huge fit. The compromise is that the TV can stay on, but the sound will be turned off. So during Christmas dinner they can watch the end of this fabulous well-loved movie, even if they don't know what anyone is saying.

Fun fact! My student's dad owns the rodeo that was used in that movie. Parts of the movie take place in SadTown, where Heebie U is.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:42 AM
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I don't take praise well. If it is about something I think I'm good at, I find the praise pointless. If it's about something I think I'm not good at, I assume it is false praise.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:43 AM
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You're really good at commenting, Moby. Keep it up!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:44 AM
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Essear praises the commenters who thinks need it the most.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:45 AM
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+he

(And he does it very well.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:45 AM
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Current annoyance of the "cookie" type is people responding to the Alan Turing pardon with "As if this symbolic gesture made up for even a fraction of the suffering, in fact I am insulted by how symbolic this symbolic gesture is instead of doing something real". Meanwhile there is also the "This gesture is not nearly symbolic enough, it is pandering to hero worship, you're going to have to pardon every other dead gay guy too if you want me to be happy" style of pomposity.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:46 AM
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leading to kids and possibly adults that are oblivious because they live in a bubble

A professor I know (somewhere else) got an email recently from a grad student who had applied for a postdoc job working for the professor. It read something like "I have applied for your job and haven't heard from you. I'm writing so you can schedule your interview with me. I am the best student in [large country] and am very good in your field, so you will want to interview me." It was really impressively tone-deaf and delusional. Someone got praised too much somewhere along the line.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:47 AM
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On the other hand it looks like I may have successfully torpedoed someone's career with my letter-writing. Now he's all mopey about not getting a job, and I'm wondering if I should feel guilty. Though he seems sure some finance place will want to hire him.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:49 AM
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Oh, but that's another case of overpraise, because this person was super-confident about getting a job because several people kept telling him "you're a shoe-in for a job at a top university! just keep plugging away!"


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:51 AM
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"shoe-in"? Gah.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:51 AM
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Think of it the other way up. You're meant to refrain from murder, so surely you should do so without the reward of not going to jail!


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:52 AM
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There is such a thing as too much commenting.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:53 AM
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Full Calvinism now!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:53 AM
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There's always the question of "how well do people understand that they 'should be doing it anyway'"? Someone "giving me a cookie" for, like, not making ignorant remarks about someone's dreadlocks - that would be pretty pathetic, since people of my general type are already pretty strongly socialized on the "don't make remarks about people's hairstyles, especially culturally marked hairstyles" front. And if I were in fact to make ignorant remarks about someones dreadlocks, that would be a distinct failure on my part, since people like me tend to know better.

By contrast, back when I was a mere slip of an undergraduate and took up way too much space in classroom discussion because I just did not know better, a little bit of praise when I figured out how to step back a little and how to engage in reciprocal and constructive discussion was great, precisely because it was a totally new skill for me and I'd made some unusual effort to learn it.

Most people do not come from backgrounds where it's easy and natural to deconstruct and correct for their own privilege and ignorance. Most of us have to learn that, and it is an effort, and it's often undertaken against people in our social circles who push back because it makes them uncomfortable. This is true whether you are a white person trying to engage in racial justice activism, a cis person trying to be less transphobic, a person of color who is not black trying to unpack anti-black racism, whatever.

Honestly, I am happy to hand out cookies in many situations, and I think that random accusations of "cookie-seeking" (as opposed to specific responses when it's clear that someone is being self-centered in their actions) are often about making the accuser feel important and smug. The only tumblr dust-up I ever got into was over someone randomly talking smack about a person I know in real life - that person, themselves marginalized, had done a huge amount of work to help out someone else who was in very grave need, and had done so at the request of the person they helped. The smack-talker, who lived a couple thousand miles away, was talking about how this was clearly insincere, cookie-seeking behavior on the part of the helper, because obviously no [moderately privileged but still Not Really Privileged At All] person would ever do anything in solidarity with a [less privileged person] except for self-interested reasons. The whole thing was very clearly about making smug remarks about cookie-seeking for the first person's tumblr audience, not based on anything they actually knew about the situation, and it pissed me off no end.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:54 AM
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Cookie! Cookie good!

Bad to seek cookie? That crazy talk!


Posted by: Opinionated Cookie Monster | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:02 AM
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Meanwhile there is also the "This gesture is not nearly symbolic enough, it is pandering to hero worship, you're going to have to pardon every other dead gay guy too if you want me to be happy" style of pomposity.

I actually got a bit pompous along those lines (after several drinks on Christmas). I know it was well meant, it's a nice gesture, but there seems to be something profoundly pointmissing about pardoning Turing because he was a genius and a war hero as if he'd done something wrong that needed pardoning but was forgivable in light of what a great guy he was. What happened to Turing shouldn't have happened to a bus driver, and any apology he deserves is just as richly deserved by any bus driver it happened to.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:09 AM
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I always asked my parents for money as a reward for getting good grades and they always told me that they weren't going to pay me for what I should be doing anyway. Then they gave me a college fund that was enough for me to get a Bachelors without any loan or job.

They also wouldn't buy me a car, which about half of my friends got from their parents. I had to borrow their car, which meant that any spilled beer would be noticed by them the next morning. I think that was at least partially the point. They didn't want me drinking so much that I couldn't not spill the beer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:10 AM
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So, per FB share, I guess it is now possible for everyone who was discharged from the US military just for being gay to get their discharge bumped up to honorable? If there's enough pressure applied at the right places, couldn't Her Majesty's Gubmint just issue a blanket pardon along the same lines?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:12 AM
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Seems to me there's a difference between qualitative overpraise and quantitative overpraise. The latter would include praising someone for something they are supposed to be doing, while the former would be what people have been doing to essear's students. Anecdotes of the one causing harm don't do anything to show harm from the other.

I find the cookie thing quite useful: as an addition to my ever growing list of heuristics for ignoring people. It's a crowded info-sphere, and clues about who to disregard have real value.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:12 AM
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6: Yeah, what heebie said. You gradually ratchet up the nitpicking criticism and ratchet back the enthusiastic praise as appropriate for what you think the developmental level should be. I'm not as absolutely sure negative feedback works from the supervisor's end, but I know I find it very important when someone's reviewing my work -- if I get some criticism (that looks valid to me), then it makes the criticizer's praise, when it comes, trustworthy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:13 AM
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I'm not sure why more alcohol doesn't come in sippy cups.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:15 AM
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Also, 33 gets it exactly right. I blame the self-esteem movement.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:18 AM
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I always asked my parents for money as a reward for getting good grades and they always told me that they weren't going to pay me for what I should be doing anyway.

I was actually wondering if people were going to react to that. I feel kind of weird about it (as unnecessary and maybe counterproductive?), but I have serious issues around report cards because they were such a negative thing for me, and it seemed like a way to make it a totally different routine than what I'd experienced.

(I sound like my parents beat me for bad grades. They did not.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:20 AM
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I would have asked for cigarettes, but my dad quit smoking just before I started high school.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:23 AM
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Now I assume they beat your sister for your bad grades and vice versa.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:23 AM
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47. Gordon Brown in fact issued an apology to Turing (but not the bus driver) four years ago on behalf of HMG. That seems much more valuable (ie. not very, because Turing is dead, but an admission of responsibility after a fashion). The pardon doesn't overturn his conviction - it can't, he was duly convicted of what was a crime at the time - so it doesn't seem to me to add anything. My dark thought is that Cameron simply wanted to play catch up, or even at a stretch Brenda did.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:25 AM
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I think it's far more important that you disrupt something that went poorly in your own childhood than nitpicking whether or not high-achieving kids should be bribed with a token in one particular arena. At one point I got bribed to be well-behaved during piano lessons, IIRC, and my brothers got bribed to take ballet lessons for a little while.

I desperately do not want to recreate the piano torture sessions that my parents held - an hour or more of complaining and tears and fighting for a measly 30 minutes of practicing, for 13 years. And by torture, I mean torture to them. Jammies really wants our kids to have a musical background like I did, but we're going to have to carve out a different path somehow.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:26 AM
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50 seems right to me.

"Praise the effort, not the result" is super trendy parenting advice for small kids but I think it's also a generally good guideline for handling praise. That is, lots of generous praise for making the effort trying hard, etc, even when that's what you're "supposed" to be doing, but not over-praise for results that are objectively not that praiseworthy, which just makes the praise seem phony.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:27 AM
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Now I assume they beat your sister for your bad grades and vice versa.

That bad grades beat LBs sister?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:27 AM
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58: You could buy them all drum kits.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:28 AM
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"Praise the effort, not the result" is super trendy parenting advice for small kids but I think it's also a generally good guideline for handling praise.

This came out of that stink about how counter-productive it is to tell smart kids that they're smart all the time. (Because then the kids expect everything to come easily, and if something doesn't come easily than it's evidence that you're not actually smart, and so you quit without trying, etc.) IIRC, that resonated deeply with this crowd.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:29 AM
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61: To beat the bad grades?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:29 AM
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Drums are music. Mostly.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:32 AM
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I don't know about 'praise the effort, not the result', at least in the context where the result is genuinely bad. It's possible to be working your ass off in the wrong direction, and all the effort in the world doesn't make that a good idea.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:33 AM
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"Good job. You bought a lot of lottery tickets."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:35 AM
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Well, I guess there's a necessary prior assumption that the effort is going in a good direction. "Great job working hard and digging yourself into that hole!" obviously doesn't work.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:38 AM
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I don't know about 'praise the effort, not the result', at least in the context where the result is genuinely bad.

There's a lot of this in math, but it's decidedly different here - kids hate going down the wrong path, and it's actually an incredibly valuable use of their time, because that's where they develop their intuition. So there's a lot of frustration over wasted time which I'm trying to reframe as "no, that effort was great! And useful! Just wrong! Keep going!"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:38 AM
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There's a lot of this in math, but it's decidedly different here - kids hate going down the wrong path, and it's actually an incredibly valuable use of their time, because that's where they develop their intuition. So there's a lot of frustration over wasted time which I'm trying to reframe as "no, that effort was great! And useful! Just wrong! Keep going!"

Neatly encapsulating why I am not a mathematician today. Or very successful, generally.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:40 AM
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I know I find it very important when someone's reviewing my work -- if I get some criticism (that looks valid to me), then it makes the criticizer's praise, when it comes, trustworthy.

I've been thinking about the OP, because I agree with you in all of the circumstances mentioned, but I'm still not sure how widely I would extend the argument in favor of praise (and I occasionally arrive at, "What do you want, a cookie?" in my internal dialog, and find it helpful, but don't say it to anyone else).

A couple thoughts about trying to reconcile it:

1) One reason to have simple, easy-to-achieve criteria for something (like parental leave) is to make clear that it isn't something that's reserved for being a reward in a case-by-case situation, it is a norm. If something is easy, than receiving it doesn't represent any specific endorsement of the person receiving it.

2) I think praise is really useful in a situation where a new supervisor/subordinate are getting to know each other because it can act as a social lubricant. If the subordinate never knows how the supervisor feels they may be much less likely to come forward with questions or concerns from their end. Some easy praise makes it clear that the supervisor has basically reasonable expectations and isn't on the verge of being pissed off.

3) I do think that cheap praise can be demoralizing in some contexts. I've realized for myself, that I don't really want praise at work when I'm in the middle of a project (unless I specifically bring something to my supervisor and say, "this isn't done yet, but I'm excited about how it's looking so far.") because I know what the standards are, and I know much better than my boss whether I'm meeting them or not. On the other hand, I do appreciate praise when a project is over and I'm the, "I'm tired and I don't want to start on the next thing yet" doldrums.

4) I wonder if there's an use to making a distinction between situations in which people are (or aren't) doing something that is morally correct, vs doing (or not doing) something for that is just a practical consideration.

One advantage of your "pay for grades" position is that it explicitly avoids the position, "I think you should feel morally obligated to work as hard as you can." If you don't think there is a moral obligation to do so (and I don't) then you're saying, "grades are a practical concern, I don't want you to let them slip too much, but I trust you to manage them yourself." On the other hand, if you did want your children to feel a moral obligation then the praise/money might be demotivating.

On the other hand, 45.1 is probably a better way of looking at that distinction.

But, I do feel like there's a difference, when it comes to praise for "baseline performance" between someone wanting to be recognized showing basic morality and civility and not being an ass, vs recognition for doing your job in a moderately competent way.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:40 AM
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I do think that cheap praise can be demoralizing in some contexts.

There's been a math teaching thing circulating recently about how math teachers praise the hell out of their worst students for sneezing correctly, and hold their top students to a high standard, and why it's terrible. I know I do this, but I'm not sure that it's the (square) root of all evil, har har.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:43 AM
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how math teachers praise the hell out of their worst students for sneezing correctly

Do you mean into their elbow or a hankie?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:46 AM
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It can be helpful to think you're really good at math, because that could motivate you to work really hard in private on problems because your self-image is at stake. Or it could demotivate you because you don't expect to run into difficulty. Praising effort not smarts seems more morally sound but overachievers have their egos highly invested in some crazy superior self-image.


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:46 AM
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I don't take praise well. If it is about something I think I'm good at, I find the praise pointless. If it's about something I think I'm not good at, I assume it is false praise.

I'm afraid I don't do praise well, and it's because I always think it comes off this way.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:47 AM
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s/b overachievers often have their egos highly invested...


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:47 AM
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Math is an especially tricky area wrt giving people praise for effort. For so many people the primary barrier to learning math seems to be psychological, so finding the right motivational techniques is particularly important.

Heebie, is there a big difference between your major and non-major students? I would assume that the folks who choose to take something beyond the required calculus classes would be over the psychological block.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:56 AM
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74: I am a (probably hilariously) awkward praiser. I use a lot of words like "respectable", "functional", "did the job", largely because I really don't want to come off saccharinely overenthusiastic and lose credibility("This is the best answer I've ever seen in a low stakes administrative proceeding! You're brilliant!"). What I'm aiming for is just a clear communication that the thing they did was a successful version of what I asked them to do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:56 AM
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I think gratitude and acknowledgement are crucially important and difficult to over-do. Thanking people for what they have done is baseline courtesy and human decency as far as I'm concerned.

(So if I thank the receptionist for making coffee it's not because I'm "praising" her coffee-making skills, it's that I'm thanking and acknowledging her work in making my guest's visit go smoothly.)

But praise -- I am well-nigh 100% on the Alfie Kohn line of thinking here. I'm sure I've recommended Punished by Rewards here before, and my general experience in life is that it's exactly right -- external rewards are a great way to kill intrinsic motivation.

(This matters much less when the thing that is being rewarded is stupid or for which we don't care about motivation.)

Occasionally it's nice to get meaningful praise from someone who knows what they're talking about, but generally having someone praise me makes my opinion of them go down. I showed you how to do a conference call. That does not make me a genius.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 10:02 AM
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My horrible boss from hell would just yell at me in front of other people.

It would have been nice if she had said something nice about the newsletter I put out, which other people praised. It wasn't anything amazing, but I'd never done it before, and Thank You would have been appreciated.

AND GOOD NEWS!

I have been told that I am the preferred candidate for a unionized job with the State. As far as I can tell, what this means is that they need to do my CORI --criminal background check--which used to take a few weeks but is now only a few hours, and I have to get a physical. Then I'll get an offer.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 10:02 AM
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A workout class I attend has an instructor who is of the all-praise-all-the-time variety. I kind of wish she wasn't, because it means I've learned to mostly disregard her praise and only have my internal sense of whether it was a good workout or not.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 10:03 AM
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That's a useful internal sense to have but I'm trying for the internal sense to shit along a north/south alignment.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 10:07 AM
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very high grades were the minimum standard, unworthy of notice, and any deviation from that (which happened all the time, because I wasn't so much with the work ethic) was serious trouble. Nothing good could ever happen from bringing my report cards home.

My experience precisely. When it becomes relevant, I'll have to try not to devalue school for the kids.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 10:09 AM
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I will say that whatever happened to set up that dynamic with my parents, we've avoided it. I mean, (a) the kids seem to have inherited a work ethic from Buck, or maybe it skipped a couple of generations on my side or something, so there usually aren't any academic problems to worry about, but (b) on the few occasions where there have been problems, both kids have been reasonably good and non-fearful about getting help digging themselves out of whatever hole they're in.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 10:13 AM
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Here's hoping. My older boy will get up and walk away if he senses someone is trying to teach him something.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 10:26 AM
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Mine will argue, as if from pure reason, with any factual assertion that you make.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 10:30 AM
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||

NM something to Run Run Shaw, at (106) 107

Hell, I stopped finding him sexy at 85

Produced that vast huge library of movies I find unwatchable

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 10:30 AM
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That was Sally, with me. I did some attempting to teach her to read that slowed her down a year or two. (She was genuinely weird -- she learned to write, both in the manual, handwriting sense, and getting ideas down on paper, before she would acknowledge being able to read things that were no more complicated than the stuff she was writing. I assume that there was some complicated stubbornness issue, and I can't imagine where she got the stubborn from.) But it never seemed to be a problem at school.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 10:31 AM
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Yeah, he's the same way with his teacher. We're doomed.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 10:39 AM
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AND GOOD NEWS!

Congratulations! I'm crossing my fingers for you.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 10:46 AM
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But if you want people to do something, praising them for it works really well, even if they should be doing it without the praise.

This sort of thing makes me very uncomfortable. Praising people because you "want [them] to do something" is manipulation. It's an effort to influence their behavior, and to bend their will towards your own. That's how we train dogs. And sure, it works on people too (especially kids), but is it ethical? It is permissible to try and cause a person to do something that they don't naturally want to do?

I don't praise my kids at all for anything. With co-workers, I'm conflicted, because while it makes me feel compromised, it is indeed a very effective management technique. If you've got the stomach for it. I try not to.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 10:58 AM
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90: You're trolling, right?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:00 AM
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88: I mostly don't buy into the "Schools are implacably hostile to boys" thing, but I have gotten the impression that there are some personality types that look very different to a teacher if you hang them off a boy rather than a girl. Both Sally and Newt tend (in a school context) towards being energetically enthusiastic in a bossy kind of way -- on a girl, that makes you teacher's adorable little helper, and on a boy, less so. Don't really know what to do about it, and it hasn't done Newt any serious harm, but he definitely got less stroking in grade school for being a good kid than she did on fairly similar underlying behavior.

Not that any of this applies to your kid -- I guess I was thinking that teachers seem to fall into an oppositional dynamic with boys more readily than with girls.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:02 AM
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91: No. We've had this conversation before. I believe I was on one end of the spectrum on this, without a lot of support. We don't need to rehash the conversation. I just wanted to throw it out there, in case anyone reading might be receptive. It's an issue worth thinking about. (In my opinion.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:03 AM
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It's an effort to influence their behavior, and to bend their will towards your own.

Yes. This is something I do with people I supervise. (And, of course, once my fiendish plans come to fruition, with all other sentient life-forms. But for now, with people I supervise.)

Come to think, though, if influencing people's behavior is uncool, isn't all communication an attempt to influence behavior on some level? What makes that okay? To remain perfectly ethical, shouldn't you also remain perfectly silent?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:04 AM
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I assume 94 is unserious.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:05 AM
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Are you trying to influence me toward greater seriousness? As someone not naturally inclined in that direction, I question your ethics.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:06 AM
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This is something I do with people I supervise.

Right, that was my point. I do it to, but I feel conflicted about it. It's a lot easier to control people than to inspire them.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:07 AM
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Are you trying to influence me toward greater seriousness?

No.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:09 AM
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I get my kid to do what I want not by praising her, but by letting her know that all her work is for the greater glory of the revolution.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:10 AM
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Daddy's little Stakhanovite.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:14 AM
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Heebie, is there a big difference between your major and non-major students?

The biggest difference is that the major students basically enjoy the material, even though they still get frustrated and bored sometimes. With non-major students, I often take the approach of "you don't want to be here, and that's totally fine and reasonable, but you've gotta get through this course so let's make the best of it!" They're very responsive about hating the course, not the teacher, so to speak.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:16 AM
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90 is certainly perfectly defensible in more extreme individualist tendencies of anarchism. Not that this makes it right. If we're looking at communication in transactional vs. transformational terms, it hardly seems like it would be less ethical to say "I'm trying to influence your behavior: I (for my own reasons, which I may or may not reveal to you) would like you to get good grades, therefore I am bribing you." versus "If you're not good the elf on the shelf will haunt your dreams." or whatever those people say to their kids.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:18 AM
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I think gratitude and acknowledgement are crucially important and difficult to over-do. Thanking people for what they have done is baseline courtesy and human decency as far as I'm concerned.

This is what I was trying to get at in 23, before I veered off course. That a lot of parenting isn't "Hokey Pokey, you put those socks in the dirty laundry LIKE A BOSS!" (although maybe I should say that) and more "Hey, thanks for putting your socks in the dirty laundry (like a boss)."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:19 AM
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There's a lot of great parenting stuff out there to circumvent nagging, that works way better than nagging, IME. Like saying "Hawaii, I see you've got your pajamas out. What's next?" and "I see bowls from breakfast on that table" and not necessarily telling them to put them in the sink, if they know the routine. Hawaii's teacher is masterful at this, and I don't know how to describe the tone of voice she uses to make it non-grating, but I've adopted it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:22 AM
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Re: report cards, I think my parents and LB's took the same class. I was a pretty tightly wound kid who hated being criticized. My parents expected all As. I got a B+ my freshman year of high school in geometry. My father brought it up on a near-weekly basis for the rest of the time I lived at home. He mentioned it at Christmas a few years ago, even remembering which class. Then, when I started college, he told me I'd spent my high school years overly concerned about my grades and that I hadn't really learned the material like I should have and to approach college differently, with more emphasis on real learning. This did not result in either good grades or much learning.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:29 AM
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Even with teenagers, I do an awful lot of meaningful staring at the dirty cereal bowl on the table, then at the relevant child, then at the dishwasher, repeat three cycles until they figure out why I've developed a twitch and deal with it. Somehow, this seems like a pleasanter interaction than snarling at them about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:30 AM
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It is permissible to try and cause a person to do something that they don't naturally want to do?

God, I hope so. On my way home I plan to cause a person to give me some food, which they wouldn't naturally want to do - after all, they barely know me - but I hope to sway their judgement by offering them money in return. If I can't do that then I'm going to starve.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:30 AM
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If you just stood there looking pathetically hungry for long enough, they might be naturally inclined to spontaneously feed you.

If that doesn't work with your initial target, you could get a pigeon mask and start hanging around in parks, mooching breadcrumbs.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:32 AM
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107: ajay, don't worry about that. I think if you ask the person in question whether they are disposed to give you the food in exchange for your money, they will confirm that they are indeed so disposed. No manipulation necessary! (If they say that they aren't, you might try asking a different person. Perhaps one who works in a shop that sells food.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:36 AM
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We're supposed to restart Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, which Lee quit with Mara because it seemed too much like dog training to her (and I confess I didn't like much because I felt like it was what I was doing already.)

But for people who like acronyms, here's how that theory works (per this PDF) although it's generally aimed at families where the parent is having problems rather than just your average unfogged household.

"• Praise. Parents provide praise for a child's
appropriate behavior--for example,
telling them, "good job cleaning up your
crayons"--to help encourage the behavior
and make the child feel good about his or
her relationship with the parent.
• Reflection. Parents repeat and build upon
what the child says to show that they are
listening and to encourage improved
communication.
• Imitation. Parents do the same thing that
the child is doing, which shows approval
and helps teach the child how to play with
others.
• Behavioral Description. Parents describe
the child's activity (e.g., "You're building a
tower with blocks") to demonstrate interest
and build vocabulary.
• Enjoyment. Parents are enthusiastic and
show excitement about what the child is
doing.

Parents are guided to praise wanted
behaviors, like sharing, and to ignore
unwanted or annoying behaviors, such as
whining (unless the behaviors are destructive
or dangerous). In addition, parents are taught
to avoid criticisms or negative words--such
as "No," "Don't," "Stop," "Quit," or "Not"--
and instead concentrate on positive directions."


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:37 AM
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110: PRIBE?

Re: overpraise, I had a student who did something extremely, extremely dangerous, where dying was literally a possibility. I yelled (I'm not much of a yeller normally - icy disdain yes, yelling no). She teared up, and asked me why I wasn't impressed that she'd done everything else just right (except the major possibly-lethal detail she'd been warned about repeatedly).

I find with students/underlings I'm pretty good with some and pretty bad with others (not in classes, in one-on-one mentoring/training type stuff). I haven't cracked the code yet. Luckily, I'm not in a situation where their performance is a factor in my boss' evaluation of my work.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:41 AM
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She teared up, and asked me why I wasn't impressed that she'd done everything else just right (except the major possibly-lethal detail she'd been warned about repeatedly).

She did something that could have killed her, and got weepy because you yelled rather than because she could have died? This is a woman with her sense of the relative urgency of physical and emotional self-preservation somewhat miscalibrated.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:44 AM
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except the major possibly-lethal detail she'd been warned about repeatedly

"I'm sorry that I missed that detail. Am I supposed to mix the bleach and the ammonia in a glass container?"


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:46 AM
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110: PRIBE?

I was going to make that joke.

I assume you are supposed to drop "behavioral" from the forth bullet when constructing the acronym.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:46 AM
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111: behavior Description, I'm sure.

I've gotten comfortable with the "Oh my goodness, you could have gotten SO BADLY HURT!" school of overreaction, though only for things that really need it like running into the street, and it has an impact even if it is manipulative. And so far it's kept any of the kids from giving me the tearful reaction that they'd been doing everything else so well except almost getting badly hurt, so I'm okay with that.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:47 AM
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109: How is that different from your child giving you good behavior in exchange for your praise? It's as much a freely chosen transaction as the person feeding ajay breadcrumbs from a park bench selling ajay something to eat.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:47 AM
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112: Her AND me AND an onlooker. And yes, crying because I hadn't complimented what a good job she did with the rest of the procedure.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:47 AM
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"Other than that, Prof. Ydnew, what did you think of the play?"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:49 AM
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I was always torn about how the author of Our American Cousin should feel about things. On the one hand, he play is identified with a great crime. On the other hand, people still know the name of his play when the odds are that they wouldn't otherwise.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:52 AM
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115: Kidding about the acronym. I think I said something like "Oh my god, what are you DOING WITH THAT??? Didn't you understand that stuff is incredibly toxic upon inhalation?!?"

116: I was so relieved she quit the next day. Something about not feeling "safe" working with that particular material. Well, yeah, kid, you shouldn't. Mumbles bromides about treating toxic things with respect.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:53 AM
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116 s/b 118.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:53 AM
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Maybe she was crying because you (correctly and reasonably) frightened her, and she was covering the fear by turning it into a complaint about your lack of praise? That's the only way I can play it that makes her not a real nutcase.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:56 AM
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116: so you've asked your subordinates whether they would really like to work harder in order to earn your praise--whether that's a worthwhile tradeoff for them? Or whether, if given the choice, they would prefer to have you keep your praise and let them do as they please?

If you have asked them this question, and you're getting honest, affirmative answers from them, then congratulations. You're a remarkable manager. In most cases, though, even if you asked this question, I wouldn't trust their answers, given the position of authority you hold over them. They likely fear that if they don't tell you that your praise is valuable to them, they will suffer negative consequences. It's the same with your kids. Contrast that to the food salesperson that ajay approaches, who isn't in any sort of subservient position to ajay, and could easily tell him to piss off.*

*Ignoring for the moment any employer/employee relationship which may exist between the clerk to whom ajay speaks and the proprietor of the shop he enters.

Again: kids seek praise because all people seek affirmation. Using that human need for your own purposes, by metering out praise deliberately to influence others' behavior, makes me uneasy.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 12:10 PM
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Maybe she traveled back through time to kill the person who would become worse than Hitler and was crying at her failure. If my theory is true, there's a 50% chance that ydnew is worse than Hitler. Or, more charitably, a 33.33% chance if we figure an unusually high level of self-awareness on the part of future people who become worse than Hitler.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 12:13 PM
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It's certainly possible and would make more sense, but the onlooker (another grad student) agreed with my impression. 124 is also possible. Sorry, genocide victims.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 12:16 PM
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I'm glad nothing I teach involves any risk of death. I'm kind of disturbed that teaching ever involves serious risk of death.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 12:18 PM
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I didn't know you were such a pussy, Essear. Can't the death ray kill people?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 12:19 PM
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He only kills dinosaurs, Halford. Keep up!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 12:20 PM
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I guess maybe that's research and not teaching. I don't really know how science works. Build me some weapons I can use, fools!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 12:20 PM
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Now now, Halford, he may just be using the Many Worlds hypothesis as a loophole.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 12:21 PM
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I have been told that I am the preferred candidate for a unionized job with the State.

That's such good news! Hurray!

I'm very child-like. In my personal life -- and in my current job -- when I want praise, I just run up to whomever and demand it. "Look at what I did! Isn't it great?" But I find that I actually crave it, so even if the praise is perfunctory, it gives me what I need.

(NB: This did not work for me in graduate school. Mostly because I never tried it.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 12:23 PM
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Occasionally it's nice to get meaningful praise from someone who knows what they're talking about, but generally having someone praise me makes my opinion of them go down. I showed you how to do a conference call. That does not make me a genius.

I used to feel this way, but in retrospect I often feel it was a result of a very real case of impostor syndrome.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 12:25 PM
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I should say, I often felt that way about things slightly more complicated than a conference call.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 12:30 PM
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I'm on a conference call right now. It is entering its 6th hour.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 12:34 PM
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77: I'm filing away "This is the best answer I've ever seen in a low stakes administrative proceeding!" so that I can say it to someone someday.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 12:36 PM
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123: And this marks the traditional point in the urple interaction in which I am reduced to helpless confusion. Praise... manipulative... but workers not motivated by praise but by negative consequences... so... huh?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 12:49 PM
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120: This, folks, is the bracingly direct route to preparing dioxygen difluoride, often referred to in the literature by its evocative formula of FOOF.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 12:49 PM
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136: I am taking it as a given that punishing other people in order to get them to do what you want is impermissible. If you don't accept that, then it's hard to even have this conversation.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 12:58 PM
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138. Is it permissible to reduce their responsibilities if they prove to be incompetent, or to reward them with bonuses or interesting assignments or greater autonomy in the case of children if they're good at what they do?

If that's OK, how should the decisions be explained to those affected by them, if at all?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 1:04 PM
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I like directly asking for praise, too. At home I do it by saying "Praise me!"


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 1:11 PM
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138: This explains all sorts of things that went wrong in my dating career.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 1:13 PM
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Don't bring out the whip unless you've discussed it before.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 1:15 PM
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139: of course. Why wouldn't it be? (And why wouldn't you explain the decision to those affected?)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 1:15 PM
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A couple of summers in High School I worked for a screen printer near Chicago. Jesse Jackson was a fixture in the local news at the time.

When the guy most prone to fucking up a run of bottles would do so yet again, or damage something that others would have to fix, he would stand triumphantly away from the machinery, raise both fists in the air, and yell "I AM somebody!"


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 1:19 PM
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143. The explanation of your assessment is praise.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 1:20 PM
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145: I don't think you read the link in 90.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 1:21 PM
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The link in 90 says "praise is wonderful when it is not used manipulatively." Do you praise your children sometimes, just not for what they do or for things that meet your value judgments? (I'm specifically trying to square this with the racist gun-totin' druncle, since they're clearly being taught that some things are bad.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 1:24 PM
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147: oh, sure.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 1:32 PM
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90 contains an idealized view of childhood which incorrectly places the parent at the center of the kid's world.

Maybe it's relevant for very small kids, or as a counterbalance to OCD parents also interested in thought control. But honestly how much psychological background do healthy parents of small kids need?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 1:32 PM
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Unpraised, and unpunished, I have the mental energy to freely and independently wonder: what is going on with my toilet?


Posted by: Urple's Offspring | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 1:33 PM
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149: Hm. I haven't actually read all of that link--that was just the first google hit that seemed to be fairly explanatory. So I'll grant that maybe it says something entirely small-child-centered. But the concept generally isn't applicable only to small children. No one likes to be manipulated.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 1:37 PM
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Also: is there anything Dad won't eat?


Posted by: Urple's Offspring | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 1:37 PM
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No one likes to be manipulated.

Again with the belated insights into my dating failures.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 1:38 PM
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151.last: Sure, but if you do it well enough, they don't know they're being manipulated.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 1:42 PM
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I try to avoid certain kinds of praise, too (both because I don't like the manipulative aspect and because I have a certain amount of overdependence on external validation myself), though on the other hand I am kind of a never ending font of other kinds of affirming parental love talk, so I don't know.

I try not to do praise as reward, but I do also try to thank wherever appropriate, which surely has some of the same dynamic -- still, it seems better to me to encourage desirable behavior by being grateful for it than by judging it. I also stay away from the essentializing praise like "you're so good at drawing!" in favor of stuff about how I love watching her draw and noticing interesting new stuff she's being doing. I do explicitly praise effort and persistence, and will remark that practice at something has been paying off (especially if she explicitly announces something as an achievement -- "Look what I can do now!").


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 1:47 PM
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149: Well, all children start small, and also have you never met any adult or older child who pines for his or her parent's approval?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 1:48 PM
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151. What? "Run this shitty errand, honey, and I'll cook your favorite meal" both partners half-smiling.

Is this
a)Manipulation,
b) glorious free exchange, or
c) normal human interaction that doesn't fit into a badly-drawn cartoon theory of human behavior possibly suitable for remediation of bad habits but which theory is definitely not generally normative.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 1:49 PM
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Even children start small!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 1:49 PM
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No one likes to be manipulated.

It's not so much that as it is that people know how to manipulate themselves pretty well already, for the most part, so you're better off trying something that they can't do alone.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 1:53 PM
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159. This is the childrearing portion of the blog, pervert. Keep your sex advice where it belongs.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 1:56 PM
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I only really value praise from people who don't give much. Like the diving instructor when I did that for a year. Usually he would laugh at us and take the piss, so if he said a dive was good, I was thrilled.

When I'm tutoring I have praise Tourette's though. They add 4 add 2 correctly and I say "brilliant". There's a constant stream of "excellent/fantastic/exactly right/brilliant/yep yep keep going" coming out of my mouth that I can't stop.

I am not like this with my own children. I don't give rewards for doing well at school or anywhere. Kid A and I talked about this last year when she was doing her exams, because it was quite common for her friends to be getting money for each A* (and some might have lost money for a C), and I ended up offering to buy her a vanilla Coke for each A* she got. (Which turned out to be more than I was expecting, so I guess my offer worked!)

Kid B just came in so I asked her if I should praise her more. She said no, but a monetary reward for her achievements would probably be good parenting. About a year and a half ago she announced she was growing her hair, so I was very encouraging about that, and commented frequently on her excellent hair growth.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 1:57 PM
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My kids all bite their nails, I have no idea why. Anyway, the big two have both this Christmas expressed a wish to grow their tiny nails properly. I'm being positive about this, and wondering whether to get further involved (by offering manicures and decent false nails perhaps? I am fairly ignorant) or whether my encouragement will come to be seen as pressure and resented.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 2:09 PM
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Praising people because you "want [them] to do something" is manipulation. It's an effort to influence their behavior, and to bend their will towards your own. That's how we train dogs. And sure, it works on people too (especially kids), but is it ethical?

It's not that I *want* you to use the potty, but it is my duty to inform you that pooping in your pants will have a serious negative impact on your romantic and employment opportunities in later life.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 2:10 PM
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I bite my nails off and then chew the bit-off piece. Because not smoking.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 2:11 PM
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Keep your sex advice where it belongs.

meet

There's a constant stream of "excellent/fantastic/exactly right/brilliant/yep yep keep going" coming out of my mouth that I can't stop.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 2:14 PM
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At home I do it by saying "Praise me!"

I learned that I could do this from a friend who says that exact thing.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 2:24 PM
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Oh, re the original paternity leave thing - this http://daddydoinwork.com/dreamin/ was in my fb feed yesterday, and seems relevant.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 2:27 PM
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162: As an ex-nailbiter, a practical tip that may be obvious but just in case it isn't: what triggers the biting is jagged edges. The thing that eventually worked for me is keeping my nails trimmed brutally short for quite a while: cutting them as soon as it was remotely possible to cut them. After a surprisingly long time (like, a month or so) all the ripped bits are resolved, and only then does it become bearable to let them grow out a little without biting them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 2:28 PM
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165 - ha! Of course, sex is an activity where praise is quite useful.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 2:28 PM
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160 to 166.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 2:35 PM
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151: I don't mind being manipulated consensually. For example, I told my girlfriend that if she wanted me to do more chores at home she should acknowledge when I do anything, to give me positive reinforcement. She did, it worked, and we're both happier.

This isn't just the case when I've given explicit verbal consent either. In ordinary social situations, it's nice when someone takes the effort to try to make me like them.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 2:39 PM
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Be like 3 women of color sitting in a church basement somewhere arguing about Lacan, in NVC-speak.

I didn't know you were on Twitter.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 2:41 PM
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171 - I couldn't do that. I would have told you to fuck off and then we would both have been more miserable. Hmmm.

Do you people not have the phrase "what do you want, a fucking medal?" (or similar)? I'm wondering where this cookie came from when obviously a medal is better than a cookie.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 3:02 PM
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obviously a medal is better than a cookie.

Depending on the material it's made from, the medal could potentially be exchanged for many cookies.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 3:05 PM
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I'm gong to make bumper stickers that say This Machine Kills Dinosaurs for putting on wind turbines.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 3:07 PM
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Someone linked the origin of the 'cookie' upthread -- it's a comedian (Chris Rock? I didn't click the link, but I think that's it) talking about people bragging about very minimally adequate things.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 3:08 PM
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I would say "Definitely Chris Rock", but I thought he originated "friend zone" and it turns out he didn't.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 3:09 PM
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That is, Sifu linked it in the second comment.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 3:10 PM
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Although for "Twitter activism", you can probably substitute "3 women of color talking about Lacan in NVC speak" for "One woman of colour, one white woman who has a couple of trans friends and one university student, alternately talking about their serious mental health issues and complaining that nobody will give them an important or public role in other people's campaigns"


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 3:15 PM
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My wife asks me , "What do you want? A medal? Or a chest to pin it on?"

I reply, "Both!"


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 3:21 PM
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Death ray, fiddlesticks! It doesn't even slow them up!


Posted by: OPINIONATED CHARLES ADDAMS CARTOON | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 3:39 PM
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I'm having trouble understanding how Urple manages to parent without trying to affect his kids' behavior. "It's bedtime. Hawaii's turn to turn off the TV. Quit eating toothpaste." I think all I do is try to control their behavior. I sing the Alphabutt song to get them to brush their teeth. Etc.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 4:17 PM
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I have a grouchy personality, and a lot of the time I'm in the "what do you want, a cookie?" camp. I think the problem is that most of the jobs I need to get people to do are actually pretty hard, so that praise isn't really a sufficient reward. Praise doesn't make them want to do those jobs more; they would rather interpret praise as a sign that they've massively exceeded my expectations, and have earned sufficient credit that they can now *stop* doing whatever job it was.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 7:13 PM
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Praise and encouragement are different things, but they're treated the same in the OP.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 8:43 PM
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On the OP, it's not counterproductive to earmark parental leave for fathers because if they don't have it, they can't help out much at all, and it's very, very easy to let a pattern established early become the new family routine.

I have no idea what to do when the Calabat is old enough for grades to be a concern. I was a nearly perfect student who had massive anxiety attacks because I wasn't perfect (get a 99% on a test, get asked "what went wrong.") My chemistry teacher told my dad to get off my back when he called to schedule a conference to figure out why I was doing so poorly, with my 90%. I'd really like to avoid that bit of insanity.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 9:12 PM
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I have no idea what to do when the Calabat is old enough for grades to be a concern.

We took the route of "you're going to have to learn to jump through some hoops and make yourself do things you don't want to do in order to get the things you do want. In the spirit of that you'll maintain A's if you want to continue to have a cell phone." It's worked so far.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 10:03 PM
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186 seems to be addressing a different problem than the one in 185.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 10:14 PM
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Possibly. I don't want them to have anxiety attacks or anything. But at the same time I'm keenly aware that my tendency in high school to blow off homework and things I thought were a waste of time ingrained some bad habits that did not serve me well.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 10:25 PM
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179: You've been infiltrating, haven't you?

186: I would have just said "Fine, don't really need a cellphone, don't have anyone to call."


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 11:45 PM
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189: Thankfully there's also those Nintendo 3ds's they're so fond of with the Pokemon games and all that. They're on a better path than I was. They've got 3.9+ GPA's and have realistic medium term plans and expectations. When I was their age I had a C average due to my refusal to do homework and my parents had already had at least one nighttime call to come pick me up from the police station.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 12:28 AM
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When I was their age I had a C average due to my refusal to do homework and my parents had already had at least one nighttime call to come pick me up from the police station.

Is that what inspired your current career path?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 12:33 AM
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Out of my circle of friends I ran around with in high school getting chased by the police, four of us ended up being cops. It's definitely a bit weird.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 1:11 AM
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As ever I am amazed at the high marks routinely handed out in US schools. Only a handful of people would get As in Irish school tests and I had at least one teacher who never gave any. The actual state exams would usually produce higher marks but even so in some subjects maybe 5% of students get an A.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 1:28 AM
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As ever I am amazed at the high marks routinely handed out in US schools. Only a handful of people would get As in Irish school tests

The low-hanging fruit here is SO TEMPTING.

I don't really know how science works. Build me some weapons I can use, fools!

My mental image of essear is, as it has been for some months now, Topol as fellow asteroid-impact specialist Dr. Zarkov in "Flash Gordon".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 2:42 AM
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re: 193

Yeah. I assume there's some kind of grade point average translation scheme for kids applying to US graduate schools from UK undergraduate degrees.

I'd hate to have to explain to someone that having an average of 68% for my undergraduate philosophy essays was really _quite_ good.

I was (arguably -- see threads passim) the best student in my high school year, and I still got a mix of As and Bs for my final exams. That said, I'd expect someone of similar ability doing the same exams now to get all As, partly through grade-inflation, but also because it seems [as far as I can tell] like teenagers work a lot harder and grades are much more important than they were 20 years ago.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 5:22 AM
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191, 192: that wasn't inspiration, it was an unwitting apprenticeship.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 5:28 AM
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192: wait, is that remotely surprising? Give it fifteen years, one of you will be a judge.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 5:32 AM
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137: Anyone who's ever been tantalized by hearing that there's a famously entertaining but unavailable history of rocket fuel development (Ignition!, by John Clark. Out of print and used copies are hundreds of dollars.), there's a link to a pdf copy in the thread linked in 137. I haven't read it yet, but I'm planning to.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 7:14 AM
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My mental image of essear is, as it has been for some months now, Topol as fellow asteroid-impact specialist Dr. Zarkov in "Flash Gordon".

Who plays Prince Vultan?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 7:32 AM
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198: Highly recommended. Chorine Pentaflouride! woohoo!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 8:25 AM
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77: Oh, high volumes of very awkward, restrained praise actually sounds like a decent tactic to me. Good stuff, that was a really adequate cup of coffee, very sufficient routine email there, way to go. I can see how that's useful especially when training people. Maybe some cultures/people would use non-verbal cues for this.

Trying to think, I might even do a variant of this myself, with "makes sense" being a favourite high frequency adequacism.


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 8:56 AM
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Trying to think, I might even do a variant of this myself, with "makes sense" being a favourite high frequency adequacism.

I recognize myself in this comment. "Sounds reasonable" is up there with "makes sense".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 8:58 AM
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195.3 - yup, yup, yup.

LB - look what you've done. Kid B has exams at school for the next week or so and we had a quick exchange on facebook about the Eng Lit one she was anxious about having been ok, and she said, "yeah mum, im thinking I'll need some praise when i get home, £5 will do hahaha xx"


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:00 AM
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The first time Kid A came home from school with 100% on a maths exam, my first words were "what did everyone else get?" and then so were Chris's. A few friends were a bit shocked and said they would have said well done first, regardless of the other scores. But if everyone aced it, it wouldn't be impressive, would it?

But that's her. I'm more encouraging of Kid B because she does actually care what other people think.

Although I don't really think I understand people who's initial response to 99% *isn't* "what did you get wrong?" (but of course tone is important).


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:08 AM
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who's????? Shoot me now.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:09 AM
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"Do you want a cookie?"

Am reading Miéville 's City and the City* and just this morning came across, "What do you want, a bloody biscuit?" used in this manner.

*Which am quit liking. And since this is a book recommendation thread, just finished Max Berry's Lexicon and if you are willing to engage in sufficient suspension of disbelief found it quite a fun little read. And the Snow Crashian premise premise quite relevant to the "manipulation" subthread.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:21 AM
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184 is really important and acknowledgement is a third similar but not quite the same thing, though they can be combined:

Acknowledgement: "I see that you have tried a few approaches on that problem."

Encouragement: "Keep trying! You're on the right track!"

Praise: "This is good work!"

So in my case it was helpful just to literally get acknowledgement like "I notice that you emptied the dishwasher." (This helped me believe that I was actually doing something that mattered.)

Praise is cheap and gives the interaction a positive valence, so she added it: "Thank you."

Then the encouragement: "Can you start the laundry too?"

I use this on my girlfriend too - any time I notice that she does something I've asked her to do, I try to at least perfunctorily acknowledge and thank. It works, I think.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:31 AM
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The function of acknowledgement is that it helps people learn which actions count.

The function of praise is to make them feel good about the interaction and the thing they did.

The function of encouragement is to get them to do some specific next thing, instead of just accepting praise and stopping.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:32 AM
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The function of acknowledgement is that it helps people learn which actions count.

The function of praise is to make them feel good about the interaction and the thing they did.

The function of encouragement is to get them to do some specific next thing, instead of just accepting praise and stopping.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:32 AM
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I congratulated Benquo on 208 but it didn't work the way I expected; it just encouraged him to keep doing the same thing.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:34 AM
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OT: We've talked before about how European-American ethnicities are way more salient on the East Coast than in the West. OT: We've talked before about how European-American ethnicities are way more salient on the East Coast than in the West. This was shocking to me as a Westerner:

"It will be a tough November for this little Serbian."

Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:35 AM
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Oooh, pulling off the rare internal double-post.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:41 AM
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211: It's shocking to this Midwesterner, too, though it seems like a great first line for a novel written in diary form.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:41 AM
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Serbian, not Serb?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:51 AM
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Serbian, not Serb?

Maybe along the lines of Jewish/Jew? (At least for someone from the Tri-state area).


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 9:59 AM
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192: It's not so weird. Obviously a lot of the appeal in being a cop is being allowed to break the law.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 10:29 AM
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That was me. Not sure why the name didn't post, as its there now without my entering anything.

In addition to being allowed to actually break the law (speeding, red lights, etc.), there's also getting to do things (like threaten people) that civilians are unlikely to be able to do legally.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 10:32 AM
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206: I keep meaning to read Lexicon, and that is a good encouragement to do so. Well done, Stormcrow, well done.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 2:13 PM
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||

For neb, Flip, and you, some startling tie knots.

|>


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 3:19 PM
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Praise is cheap and gives the interaction a positive valence, so she added it: "Thank you."

I'd actually distinguish this (thanks) from praise ("well done!" "good work!" "nice job!"), and for this sort of thing I definitely prefer to be thanked than to be praised.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 3:24 PM
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Obviously a lot of the appeal in being a cop is being allowed to break the law.

Traffic laws maybe, but there's a lot of stuff a normal person can do with a lot less consequences. Most of your employers probably wouldn't even know if one of you got a petty theft charge or a DUI and even if they did often nothing will happen to your job or career. If I get a charge like that the dept. will fire me and the state will revoke my certification.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 3:30 PM
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Do cops really arrest other cops for stuff like that? I mean obviously if you kill someone driving drunk you're in trouble, but would a cop really arrest another cop for a vanilla DUI?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 3:50 PM
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There's definitely times that cops are looking the other way for another cop and having them call for a ride instead of arresting them but there's a lot of Dudley Do Right types who would arrest their own mother. Highway Patrol/State police are notorious for this because they often see themselves as the police who police the other police or whatever delusional nonsense they've got going on.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 4:02 PM
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the police who police the other police

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Nos!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 4:07 PM
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Even if cops can't do more illegal things, they can do more things that would be illegal if anyone but a cop was doing them. If you like to punch people in the face it seems like being a cop offers more opportunities than many other professions.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 4:30 PM
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223: Is that because they're not unionized? I have no idea, just wondering where the cultural difference might spring from.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 4:37 PM
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224: Hmm, if Neb was really in charge of that, I'd expect the police to use much better grammar and diction.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 4:38 PM
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PGD is jealous of the face punching good times.

226: I think it's just that some of them think being state police is somehow an exalted form of cop. They can have it. It's far and away the most dangerous cop job and they make significantly less than many of the city departments.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 4:58 PM
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I blame it on that silly ass campaign hat they all wear.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 5:11 PM
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228: So a state police officer is less likely to look the other way if you happen to be driving recklessly and drunk tonight than a city cop would be?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 5:12 PM
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Well, not me because I mostly drink at home and I have a sixteen year old daughter to drive me on my drunken late night burrito runs.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 5:41 PM
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I knew a farmer who had his twelve year old daughter drive him through the drive thru.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 5:47 PM
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If State Police police police, who polices State Police? Do police State Police police police State Police or do some other police police State police?


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 6:03 PM
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231: But if, in that past, your reckless drunk driving was excused, it was more likely to be excused by a city cop than a state cop?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 6:06 PM
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234: Yes. And within city PD itself I'd say more likely by a patrol guy or detective than a motor (motorcycle guys here specialize in DUI's much like highway patrol). Among detectives and patrol guys it'd be more likely from an old timer than a new guy and of course you probably have better odds from a non mormon.

Now that being said, those same cohorts are also more likely to extend that same courtesy to non police as well. If you pull over a guy and there's no victim or anything yet, he doesn't have history of DUI or other general shitheadedness, but he might be borderline on the BAC then it's not unheard of to just tell him straight out that maybe he's in the danger zone but instead of giving field sobriety tests how about we call a buddy or family member to come drive.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 6:28 PM
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235: That's awful nice. I didn't think that sort of thing happened anymore. Would you ever take him to the station just to sleep it off while Barney does the night shift?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 6:47 PM
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198 137: Anyone who's ever been tantalized by hearing that there's a famously entertaining but unavailable history of rocket fuel development (Ignition!, by John Clark. Out of print and used copies are hundreds of dollars.), there's a link to a pdf copy in the thread linked in 137. I haven't read it yet, but I'm planning to.

I hadn't heard of it before, but it does sound tantalizing, so I've just downloaded it. It does seem to be surprisingly amusing. The first chapter has a footnote explaining that Italian fathers are like Jewish mothers.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 6:55 PM
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207: 184 is really important and acknowledgement is a third similar but not quite the same thing, though they can be combined

I use this on my girlfriend too - any time I notice that she does something I've asked her to do, I try to at least perfunctorily acknowledge and thank. It works, I think.

This gets it right, and it does work, I think. I'm making it now a habit to say, "Thanks for getting the canned tomatoes [raisins/frozen corn/black olives] that I had on the list. Now we can make minestrone soup [homemade granola/black beans with corn/grain salad with black olives and feta (which I'd gotten)]." Acknowledgement with encouragement combined with promise of reward, which is about the same as praise.

It feels like perpetual reinforcement or reminder of the point of all this, but eh, that's all right, I can do that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 7:03 PM
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236: Let's not get crazy now.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 7:30 PM
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some would think that a routine of cops excusing their own reckless drunk driving was crazy I guess. There are different ways to measure it.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 7:35 PM
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I wouldn't say it was routine but of course it's happened. Not common though as far as I can tell. I worked patrol for five years in the busiest jurisdiction in the state and while I've given the benefit of the doubt to citizens a number of times I've never been faced with that scenario with another cop.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 7:48 PM
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241: Then I guess I should stop busting your balls this evening.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01- 8-14 8:14 PM
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I'm making it now a habit to say, "Thanks for getting the canned tomatoes [raisins/frozen corn/black olives] that I had on the list. Now we can make minestrone soup [homemade granola/black beans with corn/grain salad with black olives and feta (which I'd gotten)]."

You reckless fool, parsimon. You realise that now urple is going to try to make granola from canned tomatoes and feta?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 3:01 AM
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244

220, 238: Yeah, I was mentally lumping praise, thanks, and promise of future reward into the same "give the interaction a positive valence" category, but they do seem to be different things.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 01- 9-14 8:30 AM
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