Psychology Phenomena {9} ~ Pratfall Effect

In social psychology, the pratfall effect is the tendency for interpersonal appeal to change after an individual makes a mistake, depending on the individual’s perceived competence. In particular, highly competent individuals tend to become more likable after committing mistakes, while perceived average seeming individuals tend to become less likable even if they commit the same mistake.

Originally described in 1966 by Elliot Aronson, numerous studies have since been conducted to isolate the effects of gender, self-esteem, and blunder severity on change in appeal and likability. Occasionally referred to as the blemishing effect when used as a form of marketing, generalizations of the pratfall effect are often used to explain the counterintuitive benefits drawn from making mistakes.

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