by Judy Dutton
You're caught with your zipper down. It's not a proud moment, but don't assume your reputation is ruined.
"People tend to overestimate the extent to which their actions are noted by others," says Cornell psychologist Thomas Gilovich.
His team has had college students do blush-worthy acts, from singing while chewing gum to wearing Barry Manilow T-shirts in public. Their audience's opinions barely wavered. The reason may be that we all goof: 100% of Gilovich's subjects say they've tripped on the sidewalk, and 80% have spilled water on their pants so it looks like they've wet themselves.
So, klutzes, you're in good company.