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Topics - Carole

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General Discussion / Important research study
« on: Wednesday 29 August 2018, 13:53 »
Undervaluing the expression of gratitude

A important study relevant to this field has recently been published.

Two psychologists, Amit Kumar and Nicholas Epley, working with several hundred participants, asked them to send an email letter to a person who had had a beneficial effect upon their life, to say what that effect had been and to express gratitude.  The researchers then asked the recipients of the letters to find out how they felt about receiving the letters.

A commentator from the British Psychological Society summarised the key findings as follows, ‘The senders of the letters consistently underestimated how positive the recipients felt about receiving the letters and how surprised they were by the content … Age and gender made no difference to the pattern of findings’. 

Kumar and Epley comment that such letter writing appears to benefit both the recipients of the letters and the writers.  They regret that embarrassment may lead people who experience gratitude but do not convey it to ‘refrain from a powerful act of civility which would benefit both parties’.

Kumar, A. and Epley, N. (2018) Undervaluing gratitude: expressers misunderstand the consequences of showing appreciation.  Psychological Science. June 27, 2918. 

General Discussion / An unexpected and unsolicited letter
« on: Wednesday 28 February 2018, 17:30 »
Our family recently received a completely unexpected letter from ‘S’, who as a child had lived along the road from us. She has given me permission to quote from it as it is such a wonderful example of unsolicited appreciation.

‘S’ wrote: ’I’m so relieved I got to see you before you moved. I was so shocked when mum told me you were moving as I realise just how much your home and family has always meant to me. Even your front door seemed so very precious as I stood there for the last time as I had stood so many times as a child and teenager always anticipating a warm welcome and a happy time ... But what makes the memories so wonderful that they are painful to think of is that I just felt so safe and loved by your family...’

This letter, coming as it did out of the blue at a very stressful time for our family, had a heartwarming effect upon us all. We had no idea that coming to our house as a child had meant much to ‘S’, but are so grateful that she took the trouble to write and tell us. Her letter is invaluable to us.

With very best wishes,


General Discussion / Introduction to the People Appreciation Society
« on: Sunday 06 August 2017, 16:54 »
There are many ‘appreciation societies’ – for clouds, for roundabouts on roads, even for pylons!  But there is no People Appreciation Society and I believe we need one.

Many people are desperate for appreciation.  Have you noticed how the face of a child or of an adult ‘lights up’ when something positive or appreciative is said to them? And how downcast they appear when they are criticised or fail at something important to them?

So I am herewith opening a People Appreciation Society!

What is involved?

There are no fees to pay and no commitments.  But if you wish to take this idea forward, we ask you actively to think about giving some appreciation to somebody each day.  Examples might be:

*  Saying something appreciative to the parent(s) of a young child.  (I still remember how joyful I felt when a passer-by, looking into the pram with my six months old little girl, exclaimed, “Look at that smile!  You can tell a baby is loved when she smiles like that!”)

*  Saying something positive to a neighbour or colleague.  Perhaps personal comments are best avoided (not sure about that), but an appreciative word is almost always valued.

*  Sending a card or making a phone call to thank someone for work they have undertaken or a contribution they have made.

Thank you very much for your interest.   


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