Passing Judgment: Praise and Blame in Everyday Life

Passing Judgment: Praise and Blame in Everyday Life

by Terri Apter


View All Available Formats & Editions
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


Terri Apter reveals how everyday judgments impact our relationships and how praise, blame, and shame shape our sense of self.

Do you know that praise is essential to the growth of a healthy brain? That experiences of praise and blame affect how long we live? That the conscious and unconscious judgments we engage in every day began as a crucial survival technique? Do you think people shouldn’t be judgmental? But, how judgmental are you, and how does this impact your relationships? “Keenly perceptive” (The Atlantic) psychologist and writer Terri Apter reveals how everyday judgments impact our relationships, and how praise, blame, and shame shape our sense of self.

Our obsession with praise and blame begins soon after birth. Totally dependent on others, rapidly we learn to value praise, and to fear the consequences of blame. Despite outgrowing an infant’s dependence, we continue to monitor others’ judgments of us, and we ourselves develop what relational psychologist Terri Apter calls a “judgment meter,” which constantly scans people and our interactions with them, and registers a positive or negative opinion.

In Passing Judgment, Apter reveals how interactions between parents and children, within couples, and among friends and colleagues are permeated with praise and blame that range far beyond specific compliments and accusations. Drawing on three decades of research, Apter gives us the tools to learn about our personal needs, goals and values, to manage our biases, to tolerate others’ views, and to make sense of our most powerful, and often confusing, responses to ourselves and to others.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393247855
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 01/09/2018
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Terri Apter is a writer, psychologist, and retired Fellow of Newnham College, Cambridge. Her nine books include The Sister Knot and What Do You Want from Me? She lives in Cambridge, England.

Ann Marie Lee has worked extensively as an actress in the theater, as well as on television and film. She has recorded numerous audiobooks and has received several AudioFile Earphones Awards and a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award.

Table of Contents

Introduction 11

1 The Beginnings of Human Judgment 23

2 The Chemistry, Economics, and Psychology of Praise 38

3 Blame: The Necessity and Devastation of Guilt and Shame 59

4 Family Judgments, Family Systems 86

5 Just Friends: Praise and Blame Between Peers 113

6 Intimate Judgments: Praise and Blame Within Couples 144

7 Professional Dues: Praise and Blame in the Workplace 174

8 Social Media and the New Challenges to Our Judgment Meter 211

9 Lifelong Judgments 236

Acknowledgments 251

Notes 253

Index 305

Customer Reviews