A recent article in Scientific American posits that flattery – even that false, greasy kind of stuff of used car salesmen – has an impact on us that makes us favor the flatterer. In fact, even when the false flattery
itself disgusts us, we still tend to look more favorably upon the flatterer, without knowing exactly why. It’s amazing how often our brain leads us to do things without letting us in on the motivation. I think our environment has advanced faster than our brains can adapt, so a lot of vestigial processes that used to help keep us alive and procreating are now causing us to buy Yugos and Zima instead.
As I examine my experiences around this, I know it to be true. There are people with whom I interact regularly that I know are constantly blowing smoke up my ass, but I still find myself attracted to them and willing to listen to what they have to say. I would never have said that their crap was having a positive impact, but why else would I keep hanging around them? I rationalized it as my way of discovering how thick they’d pile it on.
By the way, nice shoes!