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The effect of a pratfall on increasing interpersonal attractiveness


An experiment was performed which demonstrated that the attractiveness of a superior person is enhanced if he commits a clumsy blunder; the same blunder tends to decrease the the attractiveness of a mediocre person. We predicted these results by conjecturing that a superior person may be viewed as superhuman and, therefore, distant; a blunder tends to. humanize him and, consequently, increases his attractiveness.


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This research was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF GS 202 and NSF GS 750) to Elliot Aronson and was carried out at the University of Minnesota.

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Aronson, E., Willerman, B. & Floyd, J. The effect of a pratfall on increasing interpersonal attractiveness. Psychon Sci 4, 227–228 (1966).

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  • Superior Ability
  • Average Ability
  • Stimulus Person
  • Test Reaction Time
  • Social Science Research Council