The Pratfall Effect

The Pratfall Effect is a psychological phenomenon whereby the attractiveness of a person perceived as competent increases if the person commits a blunder. Conversely, the attractiveness of a person perceived as incompetent decreases if the person commits a blunder.

This phenomenon says that competent people appear more likeable and attractive when they make a mistake than when they are perfect. People who seem to make no mistakes are generally less likable, or at least that is what people think. In short, messing things up a bit endears you to people while perfection often creates a sense of distance and invincibility, which people do not generally like. Why, because it is threatening.

The phenomenon was widely suggested as an effective persuasion technique by Dr Richard Wiseman. He concludes that people find it hard to associate with others who are highly competent, perhaps more so than themselves but warm to others who are flawed and just like themselves.

Those who never make mistakes are perceived as less likable than those who commit the occasional faux pas. Messing up draws people closer to you, makes you more human.

Summing-up: So this is why we tend to dislike people who seem perfect. And now we know that making minor mistakes isn’t the worst thing in the world – in fact, it can work in our favor.

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3 Comments

  1. Pingback: How to Make People Like You: 12 Strategies Backed By Research

  2. Keith

    Having read this I believed it was really informative.
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  3. เลขเด็ดงวดนี้

    An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a friend who had been conducting a little research on this.

    And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him…
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    But yeah, thanx for spending time to discuss this subject here on your blog.

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