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The Pratfall Effect

Think perfection is good? Think others will like you if you are perfect?

In Jonah Berger’s insightful book “Magic Words”, he introduces us to a fascinating psychological phenomenon known as the “Pratfall Effect”. This concept revolves around the idea that our minor blunders and mishaps can actually enhance our likability.

Berger illustrates this concept through an intriguing experiment. A group of students were introduced to a trivia contestant (an actor in reality). This contestant was portrayed in two different scenarios – as highly competent, answering most quiz questions correctly, and as less impressive, answering only a few correctly. In both scenarios, the contestant clumsily spilled coffee on his suit.

The results were surprising. The competent contestant, despite his blunder, became more likable. His mistake humanized him, making him more relatable and endearing. This is the essence of the Pratfall Effect. It shows us that our imperfections can be our assets, making us more human and approachable.

So, the next time you stumble or make a mistake, remember the Pratfall Effect. It’s these little imperfections that make us who we are, and often, they make us more likable. So we can embrace our pratfalls oops I mean pitfalls, for they are a part of our unique charm, while always working on our competence of course!

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