changingminds.org

How we change what others think, feel, believe and do

| Menu | Quick | Books | Share | Search | Settings |

The Pratfall Effect

 

Explanations > Theories > The Pratfall Effect

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

 

Description

When a person makes a mistake or acts in a clumsy way that might even make people laugh, they are found to be more likeable, including in comparison with people who are more intelligent and clever.

When you make a mistake, you appear more human, more like others and so more likeable. People who are perfect can seem threatening, but people who are imperfect are safe and hence easier to truly like.

Research

Elliot Aronson played recordings of people answering a quiz, but with some you could hear the person knocking over a cup of coffee. People listening to the recordings rated the people who knocked over the coffee as being more likeable.

Example

A participant on a TV game show gets a big round of applause and many cheers for having a go and making a big mess of their task, whilst the person who wins just gets polite applause.

So What?

Using it

If you want to be liked, make mistakes sometimes (or just admit to error), though do be careful to make it in an area which is unimportant and which will not make people think you are incapable in areas where they need your ability.

Defending

When others make mistakes watch for them immediately seeking your sympathy. It may be genuine, but just beware of them using it as a lever.

Sometimes also others will try to appear helpless in order to get you to help them. In this sense, they are playing as 'child' and want you to be the 'nurturing parent'.

See also

Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis, Social Comparison Theory

References

Aronson, Willerman and Floyd (1966)

 

 

Site Menu

| Home | Top | Quick Links | Settings |

Main sections: | Disciplines | Techniques | Principles | Explanations | Theories |

Other sections: | Blog! | Quotes | Guest articles | Analysis | Books | Links | Help |

More pages: | Contact | Caveat | About | Students | Webmasters | Awards | Guestbook | Feedback | Sitemap | Changes |

Settings: | Computer layout | Mobile layout | Small font | Medium font | Large font |

 

You can buy books here

More Kindle books:

And the big
paperback book


Look inside

 

Please help and share:

 

Quick links

Disciplines

* Argument
Brand management
* Change Management
Coaching
+ Communication
Counseling
+ Game Design
+ Human Resources
+ Job-finding
* Leadership
+ Marketing
Politics
+ Propaganda
+ Rhetoric
* Negotiation
* Psychoanalysis
* Sales
Sociology
+ Storytelling
+ Teaching
* Warfare
Workplace design

Techniques

+ Assertiveness
* Body language
* Change techniques
* Closing techniques
+ Conversation
Confidence tricks
* Conversion
* Creative techniques
* General techniques
+ Happiness
+ Hypnotism
+ Interrogation
* Language
+ Listening
* Negotiation tactics
* Objection handling
+ Propaganda
* Problem-solving
* Public speaking
+ Questioning
+ Using repetition
* Resisting persuasion
+ Self-development
+ Sequential requests
Stress Management
* Tipping
Using humor
* Willpower

Principles

+ Principles

Explanations

* Behaviors
+ Beliefs
* Brain stuff
Conditioning
+ Coping Mechanisms
+ Critical Theory
+ Culture
+ Decisions
* Emotions
+ Evolution
Gender
+ Games
Groups
Habit
+ Identity
+ Learning
+ Meaning
Memory
+ Motivation
+ Models
* Needs
+ Personality
+ Power
* Preferences
+ Research
+ Relationships
+ SIFT Model
+ Social Research
Stress
+ Trust
+ Values

Theories

* Alphabetic list
* Theory types

And

- About
- Guest Articles
- Blog!
- Books
- Changes
- Contact
- Guestbook
- Links
- Quotes
- Students
- Webmasters

 

| Home | Top | Menu | Quick Links |

Changing Minds 2002-2014
Massive Content -- Maximum Speed