The Benjamin Franklin Effect

The Benjamin Franklin Effect is the result of your concept of self coming under attack. Every person develops a persona, and that persona persists because inconsistencies in your personal narrative get rewritten, redacted and misinterpreted. If you are like most people, you have high self-esteem and tend to believe you are above average in just about every way. It keeps you going, keeps your head above water, so when the source of your own behavior is mysterious you will confabulate a story which paints you in a positive light. If you are on the other end of the self-esteem spectrum and tend to see yourself as undeserving and unworthy, you will rewrite nebulous behavior as the result of attitudes consistent with the persona of an incompetent person, deviant, or whatever flavor of loser you believe yourself to be. Successes will make you uncomfortable so you will dismiss them as flukes. If people are nice to you, you will assume they have ulterior motives or are mistaken. Whether you love or hate your persona, you protect the self with which you’ve become comfortable. When you observe your own behavior, or feel the gaze of an outsider, you manipulate the facts so they match your expectations.

The Benjamin Franklin Effect

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