Forget cash, compliments are the key to happiness

New scientific study commissioned by Barefoot Wine reveals that compliments are the key to happiness, with findings proving that compliments have a greater positive impact than receiving free cash, eating chocolate or even seeing an image of a loved one.

Findings unveil that whilst a compliment results in a similar neurological activity to receiving free cash and seeing images of loved ones, just 24 hours later this positive impact triggered by a compliment maintained its effect whilst the other factors declined.

To uncover the true power of a compliment, the study used a 14-channel EEG monitor to monitor the brain activity of subjects as they experienced a wide range of known pleasurable stimuli, identifying whether giving and receiving compliments caused similar pleasurable effects on specific parts of the human brain. The study then measured how happiness that related to these stimuli changed over time, gauging the impact on wellbeing and unveiling that one of the most effective ways to generate long term happiness is to give and receive compliments.

According to the report, this is attributed to compliments having a positive and personal impact that is recalled over time for recurring increasing neurological stimulation, leading to longer term happiness.

The scientific study was commissioned by Barefoot Wine following research revealing that a staggering 70 per cent of Brits feel uncomfortable receiving compliments and half (47 per cent) of the nation feel awkward giving them.

Northern Ireland came out top with struggling the most with compliments, with two thirds (65 per cent) stating that they would feel awkward giving a compliment to someone they know versus just 41 per cent of those in Manchester.

Research has uncovered that 1 in 4 Brits (25 per cent) never receive compliments, and on average the nation receive as little as 2 compliments per week. However, a third (33 per cent) of the population wish they received more compliments.

Here are the top three topics that men and women like to receive compliments on:

WomenMenPersonality and character (33 per cent)Sense of humour (35 per cent)2. Intelligence (31 per cent)2. Physical appearance (27 per cent)3. Career achievements (27 per cent)3. Told that they’re caring (26 per cent)

The cities that feel most awkward giving compliments rank as follows:


In a mission to help the nation understand the power of a compliment and encourage people to get better at giving them more, Barefoot Wine is opening ‘The Complimentarium’ in London on 20th June 2019. Guests will be able to participate in a variety of immersive experiences, showcasing the positive impacts compliments have on their levels of happiness.

Professor Brendan Walker said of the study; “Receiving a compliment sparks the feeling of stimulation such as excitement and engagement, which activate the brain’s “reward centre” - the striatum. This part of our brain receives input from dopamine neurons, providing us with a feeling of intense pleasure. In other words, receiving a compliment is a great way of improving levels of happiness.”

A Barefoot spokesperson commented; “A compliment may seem like a small act of kindness, but our study proves it has the power to make the world a happier place. Barefoot Wine has always been about making the world a better place through wine, so our mission this year is to help the nation understand the power of compliments and change people’s lives, one compliment at a time.”