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Below-Average Effect

 

Explanations > Theories > Below-Average Effect

Description | Research | Example | So What? | See also | References 

 

Description

For some people and in some situations, we believe that we are somewhat below average in ability.

People with low self-esteem or who are in a depressed state may perceive things in this way.

This effect also happens for particular abilities and situations, where people say 'Oh, I can't do that', for example juggling or diving, where the reality is that with a few lessons they could be as good as most people.

This effect may also appear when people are risk-averse and are seeking to minimize losses.

One benefit of believing that you are worse than average is that you can excuse yourself from ever trying.

The below-average effect is also known as the Worse-than-average effect.

Example

A person believes they are really bad at singing and could never learn. They rate themselves a real dunce at singing.

So What?

Using it

Frame something that you do not want others to try as being impossibly difficult. Talk about the risks and potential losses.

Defending

Do not discount your abilities. You can do more than you realize.

See also

Lake Wobegon effect, Prospect Theory, Risk bias

References

Kruger (1999)

 

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