More appreciative and less critical

We know science tells us that valuing the positive in others improves mood and increases motivation. however, criticism comes to us more easily than recognition. It is consubstantial with the human being; in fact, we can say that we are predisposed to focus our attention more on the negative than on the positive.

Our brain places much more importance and value on the negative than on the positive. It’s a good survival machine, and that’s why it senses very well how much this can happen to me in the future, easily remembering the negative that happened.

Studies indicate that to compensate for one negative review we make of a person, we should recognize something positive five times. The negative “weighs” five times more than the positive for our mind.

    Table of Contents

    The propensity for negative criticism

    In our vocabulary, there are more words for the negative than for the positive. James R Averill, professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts, finds 558 words that describe emotions, of which 62% are negative and 38% are positive.

    On another side, it took us twenty times longer to memorize the positive than the negative. We have the perception that it is smarter to point out the negative than the positive.

    However, what we recognize in good generates well-being for us, even more to the one who exercises it than to the one who receives it. Thus, in an experiment conducted by psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough showed that people who were grateful ended up being happier, More optimistic about the future, in better physical health and even doing more sports.

    For this reason, Amstel offered me to collaborate as a psychologist in a study on recognition in Spain. The study was conducted by the social and market research firm MyWord. 1,650 online interviews were conducted in January 2018 with an older Spanish population.

      Study data

      Among the conclusions we have reached, the following stand out.

      Only half (50.3%) of Spaniards feel they deserve to be recognized

      Ours lack of recognition it is so important that it is even very difficult for us to recognize our own abilities, our efforts and what we are capable of doing.

      84.5% think that envy is a very human passion but too Spanish

      Surveys have shown that we do not practice the habit of recognizing. However, 84.5% of those questioned believe, as Menéndez Pidal said, that “envy is a very human passion but too Spanish”.

      40.9% think that envy is the cardinal sin that characterizes us the most

      Envy is the second most common reason, behind the lack of habit, to explain the lack of recognition: it is chosen by 67.9% of respondents.

      The world of work is where we feel less recognized

      In the field of work, the following results stand out.

      83.3% of the population believe that their bosses do not value a job well done

      Thus, eight in ten think that the Spaniards they don’t feel recognized at work. Women and people aged 25 to 54 are the most identified with this lack of recognition.

      Over 80% think work highlights mistakes more than successes

      In women, this way of feeling is even more significant.

      In meetings, it is normal to “give birth to the head” (61.5% do so) and to criticize a colleague (52.6%)

      statistically, it is a more common habit among women.

      60.5% think it is very or somewhat difficult for us to congratulate a boss or colleague

      Both men and adults agree more with this point of view.

      In the family …

      In this area of ​​our life, it is not too common to give praise.

      67.7% think it is difficult for us to be grateful to our mothers

      It is young people who share this opinion the most.

      61.2% think couples don’t recognize how important they are to each other

      Men and the elderly think so to a greater extent.

      63.6% think that grandparents are not sufficiently recognized

      It is neither valued nor recognized the time grandparents spend with their grandchildren.

      On social networks, the complaint of recognition predominates.

      Other striking data, extracted from the analysis of more than 100,000 comments on the networks, are as follows.

      It is only in 22% of cases that we express recognition for a well-done action or a well-deserved quality

      In the remaining 78%, we have included all or part some data or word of lack of recognition.

      However, recognition generates well-being and motivates us to do things better. 96.9% feel encouraged to do things better when someone recognizes their efforts,

      91.5% feel much happier when they receive a WhatsApp from a loved one who says how important it is to them

      This feeling of joy increases in women and youth aged 18-24.

      91.9% are happy the day they get a call from a friend thanking them for a favor

      Women and those aged 35 to 54 are even happier.

      89.6% are happy the day their boss congratulates them for a job well done

      It is women and the youngest who share this feeling the most.

      87.2% feel more recognized when they receive an email from a colleague saying they appreciate him for his generosity

      Women are the ones who appreciate it the most.

      82.5% are happy the day their partner highlights their virtues in front of their friends or family

      Women and people aged 25 to 64 appreciate it even more.


      With such devastating and important data, we collaborated to make Amstel’s #HoradeReconocer campaign. Among other marketing actions, an eight-episode web series has been produced, the director is Daniel Sánchez Arévalo and the main actor is Javier Gutiérrez, recent winner of the Goya 2018 for best main actor. The objective is to promote in Spain the culture of recognition as a habit, bringing multiple benefits..

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