Kurt Gray, Assistant Professor of psychology at the University of Maryland has recently reported another way that we bolster our self-esteem and feel good about ourselves.
Clearly, we “like people who like us” (better than those who don’t). Why wouldn’t we – doing so makes us feel good.
But Gray has shown that our perceptions of pain and pleasure are also influenced by these connections to our likers and dislikers:
Shocks given by people who were trying to help us feel less painful
Candy given to us by people who have gone out of their way to be nice tastes better
Even our perceptions are influenced by how we think others are treating us.