It's good to be a bakra !

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New York , Apr 1 (UNI) Snub the embarrassment of being caught up as bakra on April fool's day, pranks can actually help in self-improvement.

New York Times report says psychologists have studied pranks for years, often in the context of harassment, bullying and all manner of malicious exclusion and prejudice. However, a research suggests that the experience of being duped can stir self-reflection in a way few other experiences can, functioning as a check on arrogance or obliviousness.

In a paper published last year, three psychologists argued that the sensation of being duped -- anger, self-blame, bitterness -- was such a singular cocktail that it forced an uncomfortable kind of self-awareness. How much of a dupe am I? Where are my blind spots? ''As humans, we develop this notion of fairness as a part of our self-concept, and of course it's extremely important in exchange relationships,'' said Kathleen D Vohs, a consumer psychologist at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.

The researchers had 55 men and women play a computerised cooperation game and demonstrated that participants who felt they had been burned would go over the experience in their heads, playing out alternative versions of how they might have behaved.

''Being duped holds up this mirror to people, and may in fact show them where they are on the scale-- too trusting or too vigilant. Paranoia, too, has its costs, and it can sour relationships,'' Dr Vohs said, Running back the tape mentally, in this case meditating on how an embarrassing event might have turned out otherwise, is known to psychologists as counterfactual thinking.

''The feeling of 'I should have known better' is the sort of counterfactual that serves to highlight your own shortcomings,'' said Neal Roese, a psychologist at the University of Illinois.

''A good deal of research has shown that these counterfactual insights can kick-start new behaviors, new self-exploration and, ultimately, self-improvement.'' UNI XC ARB HT1742

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