Have you ever wondered why people repeat the same mistakes every day? The following psychological phenomena will help you not only understand this aspect better but also become more reasonable.
The Pratfall effect
If you are imperfect, people will like you more
When we want to impress somebody, we always try to underline our strong points, right? However, it turns out to be a false strategy. Researches prove that people are more empathetic to those who are not afraid to demonstrate their vulnerability and weakness. The more flaws you have, the better people will treat you.
Imagine a professor delivering a lecture. If he is noticeably anxious, the audience will consider him cleverer than a mentor who appears too confident. If you are a shy person and act somewhat foolishly during a meeting, your potential partner is more likely to find you attractive. It is a proven but not so obvious strategy of winning affection.
In general, to mistake in front of others is not only normal but even useful. In any case, until the moment your mistakes harm others.
The Pygmalion effect
High expectations give high results
This phenomenon was checked by Robert Rosenthal, the psychologist who conducted IQ-tests at schools and then deliberately gave the teachers false feedback. Children with higher IQ were claimed to show “average” results. And those who really showed average results were announced the cleverest. What happened later on?
Those pupils the teachers considered cleverer, started to show better results. It happened so because they expected more from them than from other pupils. The increasing pressure made children study harder. The conclusions Rosenthal came to are applicable not only to the educational sphere.
Your expectations create your reality.
All in all, if you want to become successful in your life, you have to set unreal goals and overestimate your ability to achieve them. And this will definitely work out. Besides, scientists know that those leaders who set unreal aims for their employees achieve much more than those setting only “realistic goals.”
The choice paradox
The more options we have, the less satisfied with the decision we are
Logically, it seems that the more options we have, the better. We like big stores more than small shops around the corner. When there are many job offers, we guess it would be easier to make a good choice.
However, the psychologists have proved the opposite. In one of their experiments, they divided the supermarket visitors into two groups. The first group was suggested to choose one free jam out of 6 different types, whereas the second was offered to pick one out of 24. The results of the research have shown that 30% of people choosing from 6 variants were satisfied with their choice. Meanwhile, only 3 % of people choosing a jam from 24 options were satisfied with their decision.
This phenomenon was discovered by Barry Schwarz, the psychologist. He advises to artificially restrict the number of options if you want to feel that everything is going fine. Besides, this fact explains why Apple’s users are more satisfied with its technique than the users of any other brand. Or why people going to small shops feel happier than those preferring huge malls.
The witness’ effect
The more people around need help, the less likely they will get it
This effect explains many tragic events in human history. Researchers also call it “the mixing of responsibility.”
If some person on the street got into trouble and needs help, they have much more chances to get it when one person passes by rather than a crowd of people. If somebody is crying out for help, and there is a crowd nearby, every single person from the crowd will choose to ignore the request because “others will help.” If you ask a definite person for help when the street is empty, you are more likely to be heard. By the way, this effect explains why huge metropolises are so cold and cruel.
All in all, if you’ve got into trouble and need help, do not appeal to all who can help but use a personal appeal. For example, it is better not to cry “Anybody, help me!” but “A man in a grey coat, help me!”
The footlights effect
People who constantly overthink do not notice obvious things
The footlights effect is a phenomenon when people have a tendency to believe that others tend to notice them more than it is in reality. Taking into consideration the fact that every person is a center of their own universe, it is very hard to evaluate to which extent people notice each other. This effect is explained by the point that a human tends to forget that although he/she is a center of his/her own world, they are not the center of other people’s world. This tendency is especially noticeable when a person does something untypical.
The simplest example of this effect is that in everyday life, people are absolutely indifferent to your outlook when you are going to university or office. The majority of people won’t even notice how you look. You are in the center of attention much less often than you think. That is why you can stop worrying about outer life attributes. Do not buy an expensive car or a smartphone just to seem cool within your colleagues’ circle: you can see it another way, but the majority of them don’t care about your possessions at all. They are busy with their own problems.
The focus effect
People overestimate the meaning of things they think about
Nothing in our life matters as much as it seems.
Salespeople make great use of this effect. They are trying to convince us that if you buy this or that product you will become happier. But this is hardly true. Such happiness quickly vanishes as people start thinking about new ways to impress others.
To fight this psychological effect, you have to realize one simple principle: nothing will matter as much in a year or even a week as it does now. Take life and its problems easier. And, yes, you have to put up with the fact that people are not able to predict the future. That is why it is better to stop making long-term plans not to feel disappointed later.