All of us know THAT one person (we hope it's only one) who keeps complimenting us a little more than necessary all the time. Even for days when we go to work looking our worst, they will have a compliment ready for that (pathetic, almost) tee-shirt without fail.
Do they not freak you out? If no, it's just about time to burst that flattery bubble. If yes, congratulations, your trust issues are now backed by science.
Watch out for those overly nice and incredibly polite ass-lickers. Turns out politeness is one of the key signs of betrayal.
"A new study published in Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics in Beijing found that people who are 'excessively polite' were more likely to betray their peers than those that are less-polite", New York Magazine reports.
Researchers used a game called Diplomacy, which is an invasion game (like Risk), but it involves alliances to study how people behaved just before betraying their alliances/other players.
Here is one exchange between players recorded during the experiment:
Germany: Can I suggest you move your armies east and then I will support you? Then next year you move [there] and dismantle Turkey. I will deal with England and France, you take out Italy.
Austria's next move, you ask? Invading Germany, of course.
According to Science News, playing nice is a good strategy.
Although betrayal hits at the most unexpected of situation and time, a computer was able to predict when betrayal would happen 57 percent of the time during the game of Diplomacy.
If only our brains could process it THAT accurately.
According to Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil, a computer scientist at Cornell University, "While researchers found that it is possible for linguistic cues to indicate signs of betrayal, it is not these cues alone that predict betrayal."
"When I spoke to Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil, he said that more important than the clues themselves is the shift in the balance of behaviour in the relationship," Ehrenberg said.
It is not the positive or negative sentiment of the player that matters, it is the sudden change of behaviour of the two people in the relationship.
"Positive or negative sentiment of one player isn’t what matters, it’s the asymmetry of the behaviour of the two people in the relationship. He likens the linguistic tells to body language: While you wouldn’t use it as a sole basis for decision-making, if you know how to interpret it, it might give you an advantage."
In a layman's term, if somebody starts being super-duper polite or eager all of a sudden, it might be time to start edging away. (Be smart like that!)