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Everyday Paradoxes Explained by Psychology

Antonia R.Antonia R.

Some seemingly paradoxical at first glance behavioral phenomena can be entirely explained by psychology because even if they appear irrational they do have a rational explanation.

The more imperfect you are, the more you'll be liked

In their struggle to be liked, people always demonstrate their best side. A study by doctor of psychology from Stanford University, Elliot Aronson, shows exactly the opposite however - by demonstrating our vulnerable points we are more attractive to others around us because we provoke their feeling of compassion.

The theory is called the "pratfall effect" and it states that being imperfect is the most beneficial thing when meeting new people.


Expectations of the future build reality

Psychologist Robert Rosenthal embarked on testing this theory by giving out IQ tests, then giving out false results to the teachers.

For kids who scored average, he said that they were highly intelligent. After a while it was noted that these students began trying a lot harder when it came to their education since they felt that higher results were expected from them.

The psychologist concludes that in order to be successful, a person must place high standards for themselves and aim to go beyond his abilities.

The greater the choice the more unsatisfied we are about the decision


Psychologists Mark Lepper and Sheena Iyengar have proven that the greater the choice one has, the more unsatisfied they will be after they make a decision. According to them, if an individual wishes to live with the feeling that their life is going according to plan, they simply need to limit their choices.

This psychological phenomenon was proven by observing the behavior of people in a store with a wide array of items and one with less - those persons who were most satisfied about their choice were the ones given the fewest options in front of them.

In another of the experiments, 2 groups of people had to choose between different candies - one had 24 kinds to choose from, the other had 6. Once again, most satisfied were the people from the 2nd group.