The Science of Respect

What is Respect?

Respect, thinking, and acting positively about others and ourselves (self-respect) means caring about how our actions impact others, being inclusive, and accepting others for who they are, even when they are different. Respect starts with confidence and is linked with empathy, compassion, integrity, and honesty.

Why Respect Matters

  • Respect (for others and oneself) is an important component of effective communication, healthy relationships, and work and life achievements.
  • Respect prevents bullying and other aggressive behaviors. Bullying is a predictor of academic and professional failure, aggression, violence, and substance abuse.
  • Respect is essential for societal development, including for educational, professional, economic, and scientific progress. Disrespect undercuts communication and collaboration and causes unhealthy environments for all.
  • When we feel respected, our brain releases the feel-good neurochemicals oxytocin and serotonin, and disrespect releases stress neurochemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol.

Did You Know? The best way to teach children respect is to act respectfully towards them and others. Active listening and empathy are key in fostering and expressing respect.

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“Respect is an essential part of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL).”

Made possible with the generous support of France.