The present study examined the emergence of flattery behavior in young children and factors that might affect whether and how it is displayed. Preschool children between the ages of 3 and 6 years were asked to rate drawings produced by either a present or absent adult stranger (Experiments 1 and 2), child stranger (Experiments 2 and 3), classmate, or the children's own teacher (Experiment 3). Young preschoolers gave consistent ratings to the same drawing by the person regardless of whether the person was absent or present. In contrast, many older preschoolers gave more flattering ratings to the drawing when the person was present than in the person's absence. Also, older preschoolers displayed flattery regardless of whether the recipient was an adult or a child. However, they displayed flattery to a greater extent towards familiar individuals than unfamiliar ones, demonstrating an emerging sensitivity to social contexts in which flattery is used. These findings suggest that preschoolers have already learned not to articulate bluntly their true feelings and thoughts about others. Rather, they are able to manipulate their communications according to social context.
"Of somewhat doubtful etymology" [OED]. Liberman calls it "one of many imitative verbs beginning with fl- and denoting unsteady or light, repeated movement" (for example flicker, flutter). If it is related to flat the notion could be either "caress with the flat of the hand, stroke, pet," or "throw oneself flat on the ground" (in fawning adoration). The -er ending is unusual for an English verb from French; perhaps it is by influence of shimmer, flicker, etc., or from flattery.
Another clinical experience with flattery involved a fresh-off-the-farm kid named Roy. He was 18 and had left his rural home to take a job in a distant city. A single mother co-worker took an interest in him, and would drop by his cubicle, smile, flirt, and invite him to lunch. He felt funny about it and made some weak efforts to push back, but it was fun, so he often went along.
It is not only psychopaths who are adept at fooling others with flattery. Machiavellians use flattery in a way that is both calculated and manipulative. Speaking of manipulation, there are plenty of otherwise "normal" people who resort to flattery in pursuit of sex, advice, training, financial prosperity, or career advancement.
How do you know when flattery is genuine? One preliminary factor to consider is whether the flatterer intends for you to hear the compliment. "If you really want to learn the ropes, watch the master at work," declares one of your coworkers loudly, motioning toward you. That puts a smile on your face.
While some employees are just lazy, flattery in the workplace can be motivated by darker personality traits. Psychopaths size others up as a potential source of money, power, influence, or sex, and use flattery as goal- directed behavior to get what they want. 59ce067264