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Persuade by Philip Hesketh

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4 How fleeting attraction and perceived similarity can change ‘no’ to ‘yes’

Oh would some power the gift to give us, to see ourselves as others see us!’

Of all the famous lines that flowed from eighteenth-century Scottish poet Robert ‘Rabbie’ Burns' quill, perhaps the one above still has the most resonance. I for one haven't worn a kilt since catching sight of myself in the wing mirror of a Ford Zephyr in 1974. I just don't have the knees.

In addition to the over-riding drives to be loved, important and belong, according to Estonian psychologist, Juri Allik, we also all still crave the gift to see ourselves as others see us. What's more, his research into the subject has turned up some interesting results about how closely our own perception ...

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