Everything about The pratfall effect & how it works

pratfall effect

The pratfall effect is a phenomenon in which high-achievers are more likely to be liked and admired, when they make an everyday blunder or a common mistake like average people.

It makes others see their human side and how they’re not so perfect after all, so they’re more accepted. When others see us fault despite of being successful or highly competent, they feel they can trust us more and relate to us more.

The reasoning behind the pratfall effect:

The pratfall effect is a cognitive bias that leads people to underestimate the likelihood of common mistakes when it comes to highly competent individuals. They feel relieved, happier and more likely to like these people when they see them fault. 

In one study, it was shown that children are more likely to laugh when seeing someone else fall than if they themselves fell. This suggests that laughter is a way of alleviating anxiety in response to an uncontrollable event and a way of bonding with others over something so silly.

This may be because we would feel threatened or less than good, when we’re with someone that looks like they never fail or never fault. We have to put our guards up and always pay attention not to make mistakes around them ourselves. However, when we see others be vulnerable, weak and faulty in front of eyes, then it reduces the pressure that’s on us not to make a mistake and we can bond with them easier.

For instance, laughter when someone falls happens because humans are social creatures by default. So anything we do or the reflexes we have; could make it easier for us to befriend the other person or get close to them.

It can be the easiest way to make friends:

It’s not easy to relate with others especially when they seem a lot smarter or more educated than we are, but it can be done. You just need to know what makes them tick and how they think.

If you are able to figure out these things, then you will be able to make them feel like they are talking with a friend or a family member. If all fails, then there’s at least the pratfall effect and you can use a mistake they make to laugh at or bond with them over. 

Humans are wired to connect with people who are similar to themselves. When we see someone who is relatable, it makes us want to be around them, sympathise with them and share their experience in life.

It is what makes the most un-relatable people relatable:

When we are looking for someone to relate to, there are certain qualities that make them more relatable. These include being similar in age, gender, race, and socioeconomic status. When none of this applies, you can still find in others a side that reminds you of your own self, when they fault or make a mistake.

The most important thing that makes someone more relatable is our ability to understand others’ emotions and connect with them. And the closest emotion we all shared or know way too well is that firsthand embarrassment we feel when we fall, slip or make a mistake publicly. That’s why there’s no better time for others to laugh, talk to us and bond with us easier.

It has been seen in viral videos too:

The pratfall effect is the tendency for people to be more sympathetic to those who are in a sticky situation or make a blunder. People that get humiliated in some funny and mild way that’s still bad enough to make them sweat and not too bad to make them become depressed, are relatable and can be thought of as fun to be around.

This phenomenon has been captured in viral videos, where people are more likely to laugh at someone else’s misfortune than their own. They are even likely to want to know who the person in the video is and to follow them on social media platforms.

Can long-term friendships and relationships start with the pratfall effect ?

This phenomenon consists of times where people like others more after an embarrassing encounter or mishap between them. The idea behind this theory is that when people are put in a difficult situation together and then help each other a long-lasting friendship or relationship can be born then.

In fact, even people that have been friends or in a relationship for a long time can bond more and stronger over the pratfall effect. Most people feel more connected to their friends after they have experienced something embarrassing together.

This is because the shared embarrassment creates a bond between two people that they can both laugh about and share naturally without boundaries. The shared experience creates an emotional connection between the two of you that makes it easier for you to trust each other more.

Bottom line:

The pratfall effect has been studied in various fields of psychology, including social psychology and cognitive neuroscience. The study of the effects of the pratfall effect in friendship formation has revealed some interesting insights into human behaviour.

In the end, it stays an important factor to strengthen relationships that are already established. Or, a smart and easy way to alleviate social awkwardness and break the ice; when meeting someone new for the first time.

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