What is an example of positive reinforcement? Praise that works.

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool in shaping behavior, and it is often used in education, parenting, and workplace management. Praise is one of the most common forms of positive reinforcement, and when used effectively, it can encourage desired behavior and increase motivation. In this article, we will discuss what an example of positive reinforcement is and explore some praise that works.

What is Positive Reinforcement?

Positive reinforcement is a process that involves rewarding desirable behavior, hence encouraging its repetition. The reward is presented after the desired behavior, and this encourages the person to maintain the behavior or strive to do better. It’s important to note that positive reinforcement is not punishment – punishments can create fear or resentment, but positive reinforcement is intended to motivate and inspire.

Why is Positive Reinforcement Important?

Positive reinforcement encourages good behavior, motivation, and productivity. It can help individuals change behavior patterns, stay on track, and reach their goals. Positive reinforcement has been shown to be more successful than punishment or negative reinforcement in creating lasting behavior change. Positive reinforcement can improve social interactions, increase positive emotions, and enhance self-esteem.

The Benefits of Using Praise as Positive Reinforcement

Praise is a form of positive reinforcement that can be easily applied in personal and professional settings. Unlike other forms of positive reinforcement – such as incentives, bonuses or rewards – praise is a low-cost strategy that does not rely on monetary or material resources. Praise fuels intrinsic motivation and can create a self-perpetuating cycle of positive reinforcement – recognition, reinforced behavior, increased self-esteem, further reinforcement.

Examples of Positive Reinforcement Praise that Works

1. Specific Praise

When using positive reinforcement, it is important to be specific about the behavior you are praising. Generic “good job” comments are ineffective because they do not provide clear feedback on which behaviors to repeat.

Example: Instead of saying “good job on your presentation,” try “Your presentation was organized and articulate. Your use of visual aids made the information easy to understand and engage with.”

2. Encouragement of Perseverance

Perseverance is an important quality that can help individuals overcome obstacles, bounce back from failure, and achieve their goals. Praising someone for their perseverance is a positive way to reinforce this behavior.

Example: “I know you worked hard on this project, and I can see how much effort you put in. Your persistence in working through challenges is admirable and inspiring.”

3. Complimenting Progress

Reinforcing progress, regardless of the outcome, can help individuals feel supported and motivated to continue moving forward.

Example: “I’m impressed with how far you’ve come with your writing. Your ability to articulate ideas has improved a lot since the last time we spoke.”

4. Recognition of Collaboration

Celebrating and praising individuals who have good collaboration skills can encourage and inspire better teamwork and cooperation in the workplace.

Example: “You really did a great job collaborating with your team members during our last project. Your ability to work well with others and compromise when needed is a true asset.”

5. Acknowledgment of Creativity

Creativity is a valuable trait in many areas of life, and acknowledging it can encourage individuals to continue innovating and taking risks.

Example: “I’m blown away by your creativity and out-of-the-box thinking on this project. Your unique perspective has brought fresh ideas to the group.”


Positive reinforcement is an important tool that helps to encourage desirable behavior and motivation. Praise is a simple yet powerful form of positive reinforcement that can have a profound impact on individuals in personal and professional settings. Praise that works should always be specific to the behaviors you’re trying to encourage and discourage generic or pointless responses. Praising effort, progress, perseverance, and other desirable traits can be effective in encouraging lasting behavior change and increasing motivation.


  • What is positive reinforcement? Positive reinforcement is a process that involves rewarding desirable behavior, hence encouraging its repetition.
  • What are some examples of positive reinforcement? Examples of positive reinforcement include praise, incentives, bonuses or rewards and more.
  • What makes praise a good form of positive reinforcement? Praise is a low-cost strategy that does not rely on monetary or material resources, which fuels intrinsic motivation more effectively and uses less external rewards.
  • What should praise include in order to be effective? Praise that is specific, encourages perseverance or progress, recognizes collaboration, and is acknowledging of creativity makes it effective.


Brehm S. S., & Self E. A. (1989). The intensity of motivation. Annual review of psychology, 40(1), 109-131.

Dweck, C. S. (2008). Mindsets and human nature: Promoting change in the Middle East, the schoolyard, the racial divide, and willpower. American psychologist, 63(6), 571-582.

Schunk, D. H., & Ertmer, P. A. (2000). Self-regulation and academic learning: Self-efficacy enhancing interventions. Handbook of self-regulation, 631-649.

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