Article

The closeness-communication bias: Increased egocentrism among friends versus strangers

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Abstract

People commonly believe that they communicate better with close friends than with strangers. We propose, however, that closeness can lead people to overestimate how well they communicate, a phenomenon we term the closeness-communication bias. In one experiment, participants who followed direction of a friend were more likely to make egocentric errors—look at and reach for an object only they could see—than were those who followed direction of a stranger. In two additional experiments, participants who attempted to convey particular meanings with ambiguous phrases overestimated their success more when communicating with a friend or spouse than with strangers. We argue that people engage in active monitoring of strangers’ divergent perspectives because they know they must, but that they “let down their guard” and rely more on their own perspective when they communicate with a friend.

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... This suggests that people may assume their communicative meanings are more visible than they really are; an effect that is likely to result in speakers overestimating the extent to which their intended meaning will be recognized. In fact, multiple studies have shown that people do overestimate their ability to successfully convey an intended meaning (Keysar & Henley, 2002;Kruger, Epley, Parker, & Ng, 2005;Savitsky, Keysar, Epley, Carter, & Swanson, 2011;Wu & Keysar, 2007a). For example, Keysar and Henley (2002) demonstrated that speakers who are trying to convey a specific meaning with a syntactically ambiguous sentence (e.g., Angela killed the man with the gun) overestimate the extent to which recipients will recognize their intended meaning, and Savitsky et al. (2011) demonstrated that people overestimate their ability to convey sarcasm via email. ...
... In fact, multiple studies have shown that people do overestimate their ability to successfully convey an intended meaning (Keysar & Henley, 2002;Kruger, Epley, Parker, & Ng, 2005;Savitsky, Keysar, Epley, Carter, & Swanson, 2011;Wu & Keysar, 2007a). For example, Keysar and Henley (2002) demonstrated that speakers who are trying to convey a specific meaning with a syntactically ambiguous sentence (e.g., Angela killed the man with the gun) overestimate the extent to which recipients will recognize their intended meaning, and Savitsky et al. (2011) demonstrated that people overestimate their ability to convey sarcasm via email. Hence, I expected senders to be significantly more confident in communicative success than recipients. ...
... This asymmetry is consistent with numerous demonstrations of an egocentric bias, that is, a strong tendency to assume that what one knows or is aware of will be seen or recognized by others (Gilovich et al., 1998;Savitsky & Gilovich, 2003). As Keysar et al. have demonstrated (Keysar & Henley, 2002;Savitsky et al., 2011;Wu & Keysar, 2007a), this tendency occurs also in communicative situations, and people overestimate the visibility of their communicative intents. What the present research demonstrates is the generality of this phenomenon. ...
Article
Successful language use requires accurate intention recognition. However, sometimes this can be undermined because communication occurs within an interpersonal context. In this research, I used a relatively large set of speech acts (n = 32) and explored how variability in their inherent face-threat influences the extent to which they are successfully recognized by a recipient, as well as the confidence of senders and receivers in their communicative success. Participants in two experiments either created text messages (senders) designed to perform a specific speech act (e.g., agree) or interpreted those text messages (receivers) in terms of the specific speech act being performed. The speech acts were scaled in terms of their degree of face threat. In both experiments, speech acts that were more threatening were less likely to be correctly recognized than those that were less threatening. Additionally, the messages of the more threatening speech acts were longer and lower in clout than the less threatening speech acts. Senders displayed greater confidence in communicative success than receivers, but judgments of communicative success (for both senders and receivers) were unrelated to actual communicative success. The implications of these results for our understanding of actual communicative episodes are discussed.
... Two potential factors impacting communicative efficiency are relationship length and problem-solving skills. There is some evidence that conversation partners with longer relationship lengths (i.e., friends vs. strangers) demonstrate more efficient communication (Brennan & Hanna, 2009;Brown-Schmidt, 2009), whereas other findings suggest that longer relationship lengths are associated with an increased miscommunication (Savitsky, Keysar, Epley, Carter, & Swanson, 2011). Problem-solving skills may also impact efficiency, particularly for conversation partners with little familiarity (e.g., strangers) (Hilliard & Cook, 2016). ...
... Previous literature has suggested that couples' relationship length is associated with communication and relationship satisfaction (Funk & Rogge, 2007). Additionally, researchers have found that length of a relationship (e.g., friends relative to strangers) is associated with higher levels of mutual understanding (e.g., Savitsky et al., 2011). As such, we examined couples' relationship F I G U R E 2 The images and labels (congruent, incongruent, or none) on the 17 playing cards used in the collaborative efficiency task length as a potential covariate for MSEM analyses. ...
Article
The speed, or efficiency, in which people communicate is linked to positive interpersonal outcomes. However, no studies of communication efficiency have examined romantic partners, making it unclear whether efficient communication is linked to relationship satisfaction above and beyond previously identified communication skills (e.g., problem-solving). We recruited dating couples (N = 56) to attend a laboratory session to complete survey measures and a collaborative communication task. Multilevel models demonstrated that both task efficiency (β = −.36, p = .04) and self-reported problem- solving communication skills (β = .28, p = .002) were associated with relationship satisfaction. Results suggest that communication task efficiency can be meaningfully applied to the study of romantic relationships and couple communication skills.
... Adult egocentrism is particularly evident in situations where individuals do not rule out their own attitude, but use it as a basis when assesing or accepting another's perspective (Surtees & Apperly, 2012, Epley, Bovenet al., 2004, Thomas & Jacoby, 2013. In other words, the information is initially processed in an egocentric bias, and then is corrected and coordinated with the perspective of another person (Epley, Morewedge et al., 2004;Savitsky, Keysar, Epley, Carter, & Swanson, 2011). However, it is quite difficult to ignore one's own knowledge while predicting and evaluating the information about others; therefore. ...
... People tend to be more egocentric when communicating with close friends than with strangers (Savitsky et al., 2011;Vorauer & Sucharyna, 2013). Egocentric biases are being increased under time pressure in decision making process (Epley, Boven et al., 2004). ...
... Communicators (i.e., targets) themselves were completely unaware of this difference, overestimating the percentage of times they communicated their emotion accurately in all conditions, but especially when communicating over email. Communicators were also more overconfident when communicating with friends than with strangers (see also Savitsky, Keysar, Epley, Carter, & Swanson, 2011). Not all mind perception tasks yield such overconfidence, of course, perhaps especially when judging unknown strangers, in which case underconfidence may actually be observed (Eyal et al., 2018). ...
... In one experiment, people assumed that a close friend would be better able to understand the hidden intention they were communicating in a spoken message than a stranger would. In fact, there was no difference between the two (Savitsky et al., 2011). In another experiment, participants standing at a freezing cold bus stop (compared to in a lab) assumed that hikers who were lost in the woods would care more about staying warm than eating, consistent with their own egocentric experience (O'Brien & Ellsworth, 2012). ...
Chapter
People care about the minds of others, attempting to understand others' thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, intentions, and emotions using a highly sophisticated process of social cognition. Others' minds are among the most complicated systems that any person will ever think about, meaning that inferences about them are also made imperfectly. Research on the processes that enable mental state inference has largely developed in isolation from research examining the accuracy of these inferences, leaving the former literature somewhat impractical and the latter somewhat atheoretical. We weave these literatures together by describing how basic mechanisms that govern the activation and application of mental state inferences help to explain systematic patterns of accuracy, error, and confidence in mind perception. Altering any of these basic processes, such as through perspective taking or increasing attention to behavioral cues, is likely to increase accuracy only in very specific circumstances. We suggest the most widely effective method for increasing accuracy is to avoid these inference processes altogether by getting another's perspective directly (what we refer to as perspective getting). Those in the midst of understanding the mind of another, however, seem largely unable to detect when they are using an effective versus ineffective strategy while engaging in mind reading, meaning that the most effective approaches for increasing interpersonal understanding are likely to be highly undervalued. Understanding how mind perception is activated and applied can explain accuracy and error, identifying effective strategies that mind readers may nevertheless fail to appreciate in their everyday lives. Through a looking glass, darkly: Using mechanisms of mind perception to identify accuracy, overconfidence, and underappreciated means for improvement.
... The few studies examining this question have produced mixed findings. Some studies have found that interlocutors are more likely to take an egocentric perspective when they interact with a familiar partner relative to a stranger, which can lead to communicative failure (Savitsky et al., 2011; see also Wu & Keysar, 2007). However, some studies have reported advantages for familiar partners. ...
... Even non-human primates adjust their communication patterns according to partner familiarity (Genty et al., 2015). However, literature examining the effects of partner familiarity in human communication is sparse and inconsistent (e.g., Bortfeld et al., 2001;Gould et al., 2002;Savitsky et al., 2011;Wu & Keysar, 2007). Using the referential communication task, a well-established paradigm in psycholinguistics, we found large effects of partner familiarity among younger adults. ...
Article
Conversation is a skilled activity that depends on cognitive and social processes, both of which develop through adulthood. We examined the effects of age and partner familiarity on communicative efficiency and cortisol reactivity. Younger and older women interacted with familiar or unfamiliar partners in a dyadic collaborative conversation task (N = 8 in each group). Regardless of age, referential expressions among familiar and unfamiliar partners became more efficient over time, and cortisol concentrations were lower for speakers interacting with familiar partners. These findings suggest that communicative effectiveness is largely preserved with age, as is the stress-buffering effect of a familiar partner.
... Fourth, people may have either increased or decreased moral standards for those whom they know. Although people might be more forgiving of moral transgressors by close others (e.g., Savitsky, Keysar, Epley, Carter, & Swanson, 2011), they also might be wary of being close to someone who flaunts immoral standards. In other words, being close to a moral transgressor might not be particularly harmful in some cases (e.g., rudeness, tardiness), but might have dire consequences in others (e.g., cheating, betrayal). ...
Article
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The sexual double standard (SDS) has traditionally been studied by examining evaluations of hypothetical targets. Although much knowledge has been gained regarding the SDS by using this methodology, the literature thus far has suffered from a lack of ecological validity. The goal of the present study was to determine whether the SDS emerged in evaluations of participants' real-life friends and acquaintances. Participants (n = 4,455) evaluated a single, randomly assigned male or female friend or acquaintance whose sexual history they were familiar with. Women were evaluated more negatively as their number of sexual partners increased, whereas number of partners was not related to evaluations of men. The SDS was not moderated by the closeness of the relationship between the participant and the target person.
... For example, Grayson (2007) finds that instrumental motives such as money and status are expected within business relations but are antithetical to friendship. Moreover, a fairly large body of research in psychology examines how interactions with friends vs. strangers differ in terms of thoughts and actions (Dubois, Bonezzi, and De Angelis 2016;Katz et al. 2015;Savitsky et al. 2011;Tesser and Campbell 1982). In brief, prior research suggests that interactions among friends vs. strangers differ in terms of their norms, and that this difference in norms alters the nature of these interactions (Williamson and Clark 1992). ...
Article
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In a brief but ambitious Journal of Macromarketing commentary, Lusch (2017) offered a set of observations about the “evolution of economic exchange systems.” His first observation states that over the past 40,000 years, humans have routinely engaged in “exchange with strangers.” Our research complements Lusch’s retrospective commentary by taking a prospective look at how the digital revolution alters the degree to which humans transact with strangers. We specifically focus on the recent emergence of the sharing economy by theoretically and empirically examining how closely this new form of economic exchange conforms with Lusch’s observation. We conclude that, despite its promise of bridging divides between friends and strangers, our new digital world is still replete with transactions with strangers, and may be more similar to our old world than commonly recognized. Thus, transacting with strangers appears to be endemic to not just our past but also our future. We discuss the implications of transacting with strangers in a digital world for the future of macromarketing thought.
... Even though communicators are believed to be able to adapt their communicative style to the online environment, this does not imply that this adaptation always occurs, let alone be successful. That is, communicators are often overconfident about their ability to express themselves and to understand others (e.g., Savitsky et al. 2011;Van Boven et al. 2000), even when the access to non-verbal cues is limited (e.g., Byron 2008; Keysar and Henly 2002;Kruger et al. 2005). This overconfidence might be especially problematic in situations in which communicators' point of view differs, such as when communicators are in conflict (e.g., Eyal et al. 2018). ...
Article
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This research investigates the perspective taking process in online and face-toface mediations. In particular, it addresses the question whether a perspective taking technique—being asked circular questions—helps the establishment of mutual understanding and interpersonal trust between negotiators in online and face-to-face mediation settings. This question was studied in an experimental setting in which disputants had to solve a conflict face-to-face or online by the help of a professional mediator. During the interventions, the mediator either posed mainly circular (perspective-taking) or linear questions. It was expected that mediations in which circular questions were used would lead to a higher level of mutual understanding and interpersonal trust between the disputants, and—as a result—to a more satisfying, integrative agreement. Furthermore, this study examined whether the communication mode of the intervention (online, face-to-face) affected the re-establishment of disputants’ interpersonal trust and understanding. The results of the study show that disputants’ feelings of trust in and understanding of their interaction partner improved more in the face-to-face mediations than in the online mediations. These improved feelings of understanding and trust also predicted how satisfying and integrative disputants perceived the agreement to be. Moreover, disputants perceived their mediator to be more trustworthy and more professional in the face-to-face than in the online interventions. No effect was found for mediators’ questioning style on disputants’ improved interpersonal trust and mutual understanding. We discuss the effects of the questioning style of a mediator and conclude with reflections on reasons why these effects did not lead to differences in mutual understanding and interpersonal trust between the disputants.
... Hence, if disclosers were to self-disclose to friends intimate and challenging aspects of themselves, such as their insecurities, one could expect disclosers to find the disclosure as comforting and natural as they have found it to be at other times for other topics. Furthermore, people tend to believe they can more effectively convey what they have in mind (Savitsky, Keysar, Epley, Carter, & Swanson, 2011) and more easily receive help (Deri, Stein, & Bohns, 2019) from friends than from more distant others. Given such perceived ease of communication and promise of support, one might even predict disclosers to increase their reliance on friends for disclosures of self-aspects as challenging as personal insecurities than for other topics of disclosure. ...
Article
Full-text available
People seek and receive support from friends through self-disclosure. However, when self-disclosures reveal personal insecurities, do people rely on friends as an audience as they normally do? This research demonstrates that they do not. Five preregistered studies show that disclosers exhibit a weaker preference for friends as an audience when disclosures involve revealing personal insecurities than when they involve revealing other neutral or negative personal information. This effect is observed despite that the only alternative audience available to disclosers in these studies is a stranger. We theorize that such an effect occurs because disclosers anticipate stronger pain associated with being reminded of disclosed contents when their disclosures involve personal insecurities than other types of information and, thus, wish to avoid such reminders from happening. Our findings support this theorizing: (a) Disclosers' weaker preference for friends as an audience for insecurity-provoking (vs. noninsecurity-provoking) disclosure is mediated by how painful they anticipate reminders of disclosed contents to be and (b) disclosers' preference for a particular audience is diminished when the perceived likelihood of disclosed-content reminders associated with that audience is enhanced. An additional preregistered exploratory content-analysis study shows that when disclosing personal insecurities, people disclose less and are less intimate in what they disclose when they imagine a friend (vs. a stranger) as an audience. Altogether, disclosers are ironically found to open up less to friends about personal insecurities-self-aspects that may particularly benefit from friends' support-than about other topics, due to their avoidance of potentially painful disclosed-content reminders. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
... Previous research with neurotypical adults suggests that friends may have a better understanding of each others' minds than strangers (e.g. Savitsky, Keysar, Epley, Carter, & Swanson, 2011), and that the quality of social interaction is enhanced between pairs of friends vs. strangers (Pollman & Krahmer, 2017). Thus, we reasoned that discussions about the self and a familiar other might yield more typical patterns of eye gaze among autistic participants than discussions about an unfamiliar other, because self-relevant information is easier to process and structures cognition better than information relevant to others (especially unfamiliar others), among both TD people (Kuiper, & Rogers, 1979;Sui, & Humphreys, 2015;Symons, & Johnson, 1997) and autistic people (e.g., Lind, Williams, Nicholson, Grainger, & Carruthers, 2019;Williams, Nicholson, & Grainger, 2018;Grainger, Williams, & Lind, 2014). ...
Article
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Lay abstract: Previous lab-based studies suggest that autistic individuals are less attentive to social aspects of their environment. In our study, we recorded the eye movements of autistic and typically developing adults while they engaged in a real-life social interaction with a partner. Results showed that autistic adults were less likely than typically developing adults to look at the experimenter's face, and instead were more likely to look at the background. Moreover, the perspective that was adopted in the conversation (talking about self versus others) modulated the patterns of eye movements in autistic and non-autistic adults. Overall, people spent less time looking at their conversation partner's eyes and face and more time looking at the background, when talking about an unfamiliar other compared to when talking about themselves. This pattern was magnified among autistic adults. We conclude that allocating attention to social information during conversation is cognitively effortful, but this can be mitigated when talking about a topic that is familiar to them.
... However, it is also possible that there is no such relation. In this context, we might consider earlier work suggesting that people do not in fact communicate more successfully with friends than with strangers (Savitsky, Keysar, Epley, Carter, & Swanson, 2011). ...
Article
Individuals shift their language to converge with interlocutors. Recent work has suggested that convergence can target not only observed but also expected linguistic behavior, cued by social information. However, it remains uncertain how expectations and observed behavior interact, particularly when they contradict each other. We investigated this using a cooperative map task experiment, in which pairs of participants communicated online by typing messages to each other in a miniature “alien” language that exhibited variation between alien species. The overall task comprised three phases, in each of which participants were told that they would be paired with a different partner. One member of the pair was given explicit linguistic expectations in each phase, while the software controlled whether or not observed behavior from their partner would be consistent or inconsistent with these expectations. The other participant was given no such expectations, allowing us to control for the role of expectation. Participants converged to both observed and expected linguistic behavior, and convergence was boosted when observation and expectation were aligned. When expected and observed behavior were misaligned, participants updated their expectations, though convergence levels did not drop. Furthermore, participants generalized what they learned about one partner to apparent novel partners of the same alien species. We also discuss individual variation in convergence patterns and the lack of a relationship between linguistic convergence and success at the map task. Findings are consistent with observations outside the laboratory that language users converge toward expected linguistic behavior. They also have broader implications for understanding linguistic accommodation and the influence of social information on linguistic processing and production.
... For example, German participants demonstrated better perspective taking when reasoning about the behavior of Turkish versus German individuals (Todd, Hanko, Galinsky, & Mussweiler, 2011). People also demonstrate better perspective taking when interacting with strangers rather than with friends (Savitsky, Keysar, Epley, Carter, & Swanson, 2011). These advantages during interaction with unfamiliar or dissimilar others have been argued to be due to a tendency to shift toward a global processing style when encountering something unfamiliar (F€ orster, Liberman, & Shapira, 2009;Woltin, Corneille, & Yzerbyt, 2012). ...
Article
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Successful communication is important for both society and people’s personal life. Here we show that people can improve their communication skills by interacting with multiple others, and that this improvement seems to come about by a greater tendency to take the addressee’s perspective when there are multiple partners. In Experiment 1, during a training phase, participants described figures to a new partner in each round or to the same partner in all rounds. Then all participants interacted with a new partner and their recordings from that round were presented to naïve listeners. Participants who had interacted with multiple partners during training were better understood. This occurred despite the fact that the partners had not provided the participants with any input other than feedback on comprehension during the interaction. In Experiment 2, participants were asked to provide descriptions to a different future participant in each round or to the same future participant in all rounds. Next they performed a surprise memory test designed to tap memory for global details, in line with the addressee’s perspective. Those who had provided descriptions for multiple future participants performed better. These results indicate that people can improve their communication skills by interacting with multiple people, and that this advantage might be due to a greater tendency to take the addressee’s perspective in such cases. Our findings thus show how the social environment can influence our communication skills by shaping our own behavior during interaction in a manner that promotes the development of our communication skills.
... Our results revealed several different findings compared with previous studies. First, although both our study and Savitsky et al. (2011) study used the director task to test whether varying the identity of the director could impact VPT, the result patterns seem to be opposite. In Savitsky et al.'s (2011) study, participants made more errors when the director was a friend rather than a stranger, but here the performance for a more humanized agent was generally better. ...
Article
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In a busy space, people encounter many other people with different viewpoints, but classic studies of perspective-taking examine only one agent at a time. This paper explores the issue of selectivity in visual perspective-taking (VPT) when different people are available to interact with. We consider the hypothesis that humanization impacts on VPT in four studies using virtual reality methods. Experiments 1 and 2 use the director task to show that for more humanized agents (an in-group member or a virtual human agent), participants were more likely to use VPT to achieve lower error rate. Experiments 3 and 4 used a two-agent social mental rotation task to show that participants are faster and more accurate to recognize items which are oriented towards a more humanized agent (an in-group member or a naturally moving agent). All results support the claim that humanization alters the propensity to engage in VPT in rich social contexts.
... That is, the hypothesis takes into account relationships, but not the type of knowledge being shared. This is not an unlikely possibility -in fact, adults overestimate how much knowledge they share with close connections: They make more egocentric errors when interacting with friends and spouses than with strangers (Savitsky, Keysar, Epley, Carter, & Swanson, 2011) and tend to think about their friends as being a part of their self (e.g., Aron, Aron, & Smollan, 1992;Tu, Shaw, & Fischbach, 2015). And, although young children expect people to share more with friends and siblings than with strangers, they do not differentiate between friends and siblings (Olson & Spelke, 2008;Spokes & Spelke, 2016 ...
Article
Socially savvy individuals track what they know and what other people likely know, and they use this information to navigate the social world. We examine whether children expect people to have shared knowledge based on their social relationships (e.g., expecting friends to know each other's secrets, expecting members of the same cultural group to share cultural knowledge) and we compare children's reasoning about shared knowledge to their reasoning about common knowledge (e.g., the wrongness of moral violations). In three studies, we told 4‐ to 9‐year‐olds (N = 227) about what a child knew and asked who else knew the information: The child's friend (Studies 1–3), the child's schoolmate (Study 1), another child from the same national group (Study 2), or the child's sibling (Study 3). In all three studies, older children reliably used relationships to infer what other people knew. Moreover, with age, children increasingly considered both the type of knowledge and an individual's social relationships when reporting who knew what. The results provide support for a “Selective Inferences” hypothesis and suggest that children's early attention to social relationships facilitates an understanding of how knowledge transfers—an otherwise challenging cognitive process.
... Previous research suggests that friends may have a better understanding of each others' minds than strangers (e.g. Savitsky, Keysar, Epley, Carter, & Swanson, 2011), and that the quality of social interaction is enhanced between pairs of friends vs. strangers (Pollman & Krahmer, 2017). Thus, we reasoned that discussions about the self and a familiar other might yield more typical patterns of eye gaze among autistic participants than discussions about an unfamiliar other, because selfrelevant information is easier to process and structures cognition better than information relevant to others (especially unfamiliar others), among both TD people (Kuiper, & Rogers, 1979;Sui, & Humphreys, 2015;Symons, & Johnson, 1997) and autistic people (e.g., Lind, Williams, Nicholson, Grainger, & Carruthers, 2019;Williams, Nicholson, & Grainger, 2018;Grainger, Williams, & Lind, 2014). ...
Preprint
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Socio-communication is profoundly impaired among autistic individuals. Difficulties representing others' mental states have been linked to modulations of gaze and speech, which have also been shown to be impaired in autism. Despite these observed impairments in 'real-world' communicative settings, research has mostly focused on lab-based experiments, where the language is highly structured. In a pre-registered experiment, we recorded eye movements and verbal responses while adults (N=50) engaged in a real-life conversation. Conversation topic either related to the self, a familiar other, or an unfamiliar other (e.g. "Tell me who is your/your mother's/Marina's favourite celebrity and why?"). Results replicated previous work, showing reduced attention to socially-relevant information among autistic participants (i.e. less time looking at the experimenter's face, and more time looking around the background), compared to typically-developing controls. Importantly, perspective modulated social attention in both groups; talking about an unfamiliar other reduced attention to potentially distracting or resource-demanding social information, and increased looks to non-social background. Social attention did not differ between self and familiar other contexts-reflecting greater shared knowledge for familiar/similar others. Autistic participants spent more time looking at the background when talking about an unfamiliar other vs. themselvesFuture research should investigate the cognitive mechanisms underlying this effect.
... Reduced levels of sympathy and emotional/motor resonance for outgroup members and those perceived as more socially distant have been consistently reported (Avenanti et al., 2010;Azevedo et al., 2013;Bruneau et al., 2017;Contreras-Huertas et al., 2013;Gutsell and Inzlicht, 2012;Hein et al., 2010). In contrast to processes related to mimicry/embodiment, far less work has tested the influence of reward on cognitive empathic processes (for notable exceptions, see Savitsky et al., 2011;Stinson and Ickes, 1992;Thomas and Fletcher, 2003). ...
Chapter
How we understand and respond to others' emotions (i.e., empathy)may be influenced by the regulatory processes that are used to shape which emotions we and others have (i.e., emotion regulation). Empathy and emotion regulation are complex multidimensional constructs and the relationship between their component processes is not well characterized. To enable future work to examine their relationship more closely, this chapter presents an integrative framework of empathy and emotion regulation. We begin by delineating the component processes that underlie empathy and emotion regulation, and the neural underpinnings of these processes. We then present an integrative framework describing the processes of empathy and how these may be acted upon by distinct regulatory strategies. We conclude with a brief consideration of contextual influences on empathy and emotion regulation using a reward-based heuristic.
... When people fail to realise self-other differences, they may falsely believe that a similarity between their thoughts and feelings and those of others exists. False beliefs of similarity can thus lead to instances in which people wrongly assume that others perceive the world as they do, causing them to inaccurately project the self onto (dissimilar) others (Mitchell, 2009;Mitchell, Macrae, & Banaji, 2006;Mussweiler, 2003;Santiesteban et al., 2012;Savitsky, Keysar, Epley, Carter, & Swanson, 2011;Simpson & Todd, 2017;Todd et al., 2011). Following the egocentric anchoring and adjustment approach to perspectivetaking , if perceivers experience a (false) sense of similarity, they might see no reason to adjust for their initial egocentric interpretation and may thus fail to realise that others can have a representation that differs from their own. ...
Article
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In two experiments, we examined whether explicit attention to another's perspective fosters perspective-taking. In the first experiment, we attempted to replicate previous findings showing that a mind-set focusing on self-other differences incites speakers to adopt another's viewpoint in a subsequent task. However, our results showed that speakers focusing on self-other differences were just as likely to describe an object's location from their egocentric perspective as speakers focusing on self-other similarities. In the second experiment, we intensified speakers' awareness of perspectives by explicitly instructing them to regard their own (self-focus) or another's (other-focus) viewpoint during the perspective-taking task. Participants allocated to the baseline did not receive explicit focus instructions. Findings revealed that other-focused speakers were more likely to adopt another's perspective than self-focused speakers. However, compared to the baseline, an explicit other-focus did not foster perspective-taking. We conclude that an explicit awareness of perspective differences does not attenuate speakers' egocentricity bias.
... That is, do senders have any awareness of their success at conveying an emotion, and do recipients have any awareness of their success at identifying a sender's emotion? Past research has demonstrated an asymmetry in dyadic communication such that senders tend to overestimate the extent to which their conveyed meanings will be recognized by recipients (Keysar & Henly, 2002;Kruger et al., 2005;Savitsky, Keysar, Epley, Carter, & Swanson, 2011). I expected this pattern to emerge in the present context; hence, I expected senders to be more confident that recipients would be able to recognize the emotion they were conveying, than recipients were of their ability to recognize the conveyed emotion. ...
Article
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In this research I explored the communication of emotions in digital contexts. Specifically, how well are people able to implicitly communicate discrete emotional states with words alone, and what are some of the correlates of this ability? In two experiments, senders created text messages designed to communicate 22 specific emotions (e.g., disgust), without naming the emotion, and receivers were asked to identify the emotion being conveyed. Senders and receivers indicated their degree of confidence that they successfully conveyed/recognized each emotion, and all participants completed measures of empathy and perspective taking. Emotion recognition (50%) far exceeded chance (5%) when a multiple-choice procedure was used (Experiment 2) and was substantial (20%) when participants were required to generate their own emotion labels (Experiment 1). When receivers failed to recognize the specific emotion, their errors were almost always of the same valence as the conveyed emotion (85% in Experiment 1 and 91% in Experiment 2), a rate that far exceeded chance (50%). Even though implicit emotional communication was relatively successful, the confidence rating of senders (but not receivers) was unrelated to communicative success. Emotion communication was more successful when the receiver was female and higher in empathy and perspective taking. In contrast, the gender and empathy level of senders was unrelated to communicative success. Overall, these results demonstrate that people can, to varying degrees, communicate emotions in digital contexts with words only.
... Auditory Stimuli. Studies have shown that increased engagement and motivation facilitates the uptake of common ground information during real-time language comprehension (Brown-Schmidt et al., 2008;Cane et al., 2017;Epley et al., 2004;Ferguson et al., 2015;Savitsky et al., 2011). Therefore, we involved a human Director in the present study (e.g., a lab member acting as the confederate speaker instead of an avatar). ...
Article
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One core question in studies of language processing is the extent to which interlocutors engage in real-time communicative perspective-taking. Current evidence suggests that both children and young adult listeners are able to draw on common ground (shared knowledge) to guide referential interpretation. However, less is known about older listeners, who are often described as experiencing age-related cognitive declines that could affect their capacity to integrate perspective cues online. In the present study, we examined the extent to which younger and older listeners used common ground to guide the interpretation of temporarily ambiguous descriptions. Participants followed instructions from a Director to click on displayed objects. The target object (e.g., hat with blue feathers) was accompanied by a competitor (e.g., hat with pink feathers) or a control object (e.g., stapler). We manipulated whether the competitor/control was mutually visible (common ground) or not (privileged ground). The results revealed that, although listeners used perspective information to differentiate the target from the competitor in the common ground condition, this pattern was notably weaker in older adults. Whereas measures of executive function showed significant group differences in inhibitory control and working memory, no differences were found in theory of mind. Thus, age-related changes in communicative perspective-taking are not likely due to general declines in mentalizing ability. Furthermore, strict screening criteria for vision and hearing ability allowed us to rule out explanations involving age-related sensory decline. Together, the results advance our understanding of how younger and older adults integrate common ground during real-time referential processing. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
... This reduction in confidence can be especially beneficial in terms of increasing readers' perspective-taking accuracy. Perceivers' overconfidence in their ability to predict another person's mental state often stands in the way of accurate predictions (Eyal et al., 2018;Savitsky et al., 2011;Swann & Gill, 1997). Future research might further examine the relation between feedback and perceivers' confidence, and how this confidence is related to perspective-taking accuracy. ...
Article
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People are likely to use their own knowledge as a frame of reference when they try to assess another person’s perspective. Due to this egocentric anchoring, people often overestimate the extent to which others share their point of view. This study investigated which type of feedback (if any) stimulates perceivers to make estimations of another person’s perspective that are less biased by egocentric knowledge. We allocated participants to one of three feedback conditions (no feedback, accuracy feedback, narrative feedback). Findings showed that participants who were given feedback adjusted their perspective-judgment more than those who did not receive feedback. They also showed less egocentric projection on future assessments. Participants adjusted their perspective within the same trial to the same degree for both feedback types. However, participants’ egocentric bias was only reduced when they received narrative feedback and not when they received accuracy feedback about their performance. Implications of these findings for theories of perspective-taking are discussed.
... Most researchers working within ToM do not consider culture exceptionally problematic for their models. Although data are accumulating of a cross-cultural variance in performance on standard ToM tasks both among children (Dixson, Komugabe-Dixson, Dixson, & Low, 2017;Hughes et al., 2014;Mayer & Träuble, 2012;Vinden, 1999Vinden, , 2002Wellman, Fang, Liu, Zhu, & Liu, 2006;Wellman & Liu, 2004) as well as adults (Adams et al., 2010;Kobayashi, Glover, & Temple, 2006;Mitchell, Macrae, & Banaji, 2006;Perez-Zapata, Slaughter, & Henry, 2016;Savitsky, Keysar, Epley, Carter, & Swanson, 2011), ToM theoreticians tend to assume that they are simply evidence of theory of minda mental attribution mechanismdeveloping differentially depending on the cultural context. ...
Article
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We argue that the traditional theory of mind models of social cognition face in-principle problems in accounting for enculturation of social cognition, and offer an alternative model advanced within the interactivist framework. In the critical section, we argue that theory of mind accounts’ encodingist model of mental representation renders them unable to account for enculturation. We focus on the three problems: (1) the copy problem and impossibility of internalization; (2) foundationalism and the impossibility of acquisition of culturally specific content; and (3) the frame problems and the inadequacy of mental-state attribution as a way of coordinating social interaction among (encultured) individuals. The positive section begins with a brief sketch of the theoretical basics of interactivism, followed by a more focused presentation of the interactivist model of social cognition, and concludes with a discussion of a number of issues most widely debated in the social cognition literature.
... Instead, it might lead the speaker to rely more on their own knowledge. While this can facilitate communication on some topics (when speaking about topics that are part of shared knowledge), it can also lead to greater confusion when communicating about topics that are not part of common ground (Wu and Keysar, 2007;Savitsky et al., 2011). Overall, the research on the effect of conversation partner familiarity on communication efficiency and accuracy remains relatively inconclusive. ...
Article
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Aphasia is language impairment due to acquired brain damage. It affects people’s ability to communicate effectively in everyday life. Little is known about the influence of environmental factors on everyday communication for people with aphasia (PWA). It is generally assumed that for PWA speaking to a familiar person (i.e. with shared experiences and knowledge) is easier than speaking to a stranger (Howard, Swinburn, and Porter). This assumption is in line with existing psycholinguistic theories of common ground (Clark, 1996), but there is little empirical data to support this assumption. The current study investigated whether PWA benefit from conversation partner (CP) familiarity during goal-directed communication, and how this effect compared to a group of neurologically healthy controls (NHC). Sixteen PWA with mild to severe aphasia, sixteen matched NHC, plus self-selected familiar CPs participated. Pairs were videotaped while completing a collaborative communication task. Pairs faced identical Playmobile rooms: the view of the other’s room was blocked. Listeners attempted to replicate the 5-item set-up in the instructor’s room. Roles were swapped for each trial. For the unfamiliar condition, participants were paired with another participant’s CP (PWA were matched with another PWA’s CP based on their aphasia profile). The outcomes were canonical measures of communicative efficiency (i.e. accuracy, time to complete, etc.). Results showed different effects in response to the unfamiliar partner for PWA compared to NHC: In the instructor role, PWA showed faster trial times with the unfamiliar partner, but similar accuracy scores in both conditions. NHC, on the other hand, showed similar trial times across CPs, but higher accuracy scores with the unfamiliar partner. In the listener role, PWA showed a pattern more similar to NHC: equal trial times across conditions, and an improvement in accuracy scores with the unfamiliar partner. Results show that conversation partner familiarity significantly affected communication for PWA dyads on a familiar task, but not for NHC. This research highlights the importance of identifying factors that influence communication for PWA and understanding how this effect varies across aphasia profiles. This knowledge will ultimately inform our assessment and intervention of real-world communication.
... Another challenge that might prevent people from getting another person's perspective is their unawareness that their (private) perspective differs from someone else's. One theoretical account in the perspective taking literature, for instance, claims that people who are aware that significant differences between themselves and the other exist are less likely to project their perspective onto this other person (e.g., Damen et al., 2019a;Decety and Sommerville, 2003;Mitchell, 2009;Mitchell et al., 2006;Mussweiler, 2003;Santiesteban et al., 2012;Savitsky et al., 2011;Todd et al., 2011;Simpson and Todd, 2017). Hence, people who operate on a false belief of similarity might not see the need for perspective getting, whereas those who are explicitly aware that their perspective is not shared by others might. ...
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In general, people tend to rely on egocentric projection when predicting others’ emotions, attitudes, and preferences. However, this strategy is less effective than the more obvious strategy of directly asking others what they feel, think, or desire (‘perspective getting’). In three experimental studies, we investigated how likely people are to ask for others’ perspectives, whether it leads to better predictions, and what factors impede perspective getting. In the first study, we let participants predict how happy another person would be with different money distributions. Only 26% of all people engaged in perspective getting, and it did not lead to better predictions. In the second study, we let people predict how expensive another person would think certain products are. The majority of people engaged in some form of perspective getting, but only 23% of all people did this thoroughly. Perspective getting did lead to better predictions. In the final study, we let people predict another person’s attitudes about a wide range of topics. Here, 70% of the people engaged in perspective getting and 12.5% did so thoroughly. Again, perspective getting led to better predictions. We found that confidence acted as a barrier for perspective getting. We also tested whether pointing out that perspective getting is the best strategy would increase perspective getting. We do not find a positive effect of this intervention. We discuss possible other interventions to increase people’s tendency to get rather than take perspective.
... Nevertheless, both studies showed the same general pattern that people made fewer fixations to people compared with either objects or the path. More generally, it is probable that characteristics of the people in our real-world environments elicited in/out-group effects on social attention [75][76][77] , and that these biases may have influenced age group effects. Specifically, the experimenters who led the face-to-face conversation were young adult females (aged ~25 years old), and the majority of people encountered in the navigation task were young adult students due to the campus university setting. ...
Article
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Detecting and responding appropriately to social information in one’s environment is a vital part of everyday social interactions. Here, we report two preregistered experiments that examine how social attention develops across the lifespan, comparing adolescents (10–19 years old), young (20–40 years old) and older (60–80 years old) adults. In two real-world tasks, participants were immersed in different social interaction situations—a face-to-face conversation and navigating an environment—and their attention to social and non-social content was recorded using eye-tracking glasses. The results revealed that, compared with young adults, adolescents and older adults attended less to social information (that is, the face) during face-to-face conversation, and to people when navigating the real world. Thus, we provide evidence that real-world social attention undergoes age-related change, and these developmental differences might be a key mechanism that influences theory of mind among adolescents and older adults, with potential implications for predicting successful social interactions in daily life.
... In other words, weak ties increase the chance of "creative accidents" (Campbell, 1960;Simonton, 2003) by providing diverse notions that collide in the brain and thus foster the recombinatory process that is at the heart of idea generation. In addition, research has suggested that individuals process novel insights and perspectives more thoroughly and integrate them more in their thinking when those insights come from weak ties or strangers as compared to when they come from strong ties or close friends (Perry-Smith, 2014;Savitsky, Keysar, Epley, Carter, & Swanson, 2011). On the contrary, strong ties expose individuals to homogeneous knowledge and similar paradigms and perspectives (Granovetter, 1973). ...
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Considering creativity as a journey beyond idea generation, scholars have theorized that different ties are beneficial in different phases. As individuals usually possess different types of ties, selecting the optimal ties in each phase and changing ties as needed are central activities for creative success. We identify the types of ties (weak or strong) that are helpful in idea generation and idea elaboration, and given this understanding, whether individuals activate ties in each phase accordingly. In an experimental study of individuals conversing with their ties, we provide evidence of the causal effects of weak and strong ties on idea generation and idea elaboration. We also find that individuals do not always activate ties optimally and identify network size and risk as barriers. Our results in a series of studies reveal that individuals with large networks, despite providing more opportunity to activate both strong and weak ties, activate fewer weak ties and are less likely to switch ties across phases than individuals with smaller networks, particularly when creativity is perceived as a high-risk endeavor. Finally, we find that activating the wrong ties leads to either dropping creative ideas or pursuing uncreative ones.
... Rather than using egocentric biases to understand dissimilar others, however, we may instead rely on stereotypes (Ames, 2004), possibly because adjusting to the perspective of someone unlike us is deemed too effortful. Surprisingly, with familiar others, such as friends or spouses, we are more likely to rely on egocentric biases than to adjust our inferences (Savitsky, Keysar, Epley, Carter, & Swanson, 2011), suggesting that we overestimate the degree to which close others share our perspectives. Future research may wish to examine how familiarity and similarity interact to influence egocentricity, given their seemingly divergent effects on whether self or other is the source of mental state inference. ...
Chapter
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An ongoing question in social and cognitive sciences is whether and how understanding the self differs from understanding others. One obstacle to answering this question may be a lack of conceptual clarity about what is meant by “self” and “other” in mentalizing research. In this chapter, we delineate three constructs that provide a more nuanced understanding of different ways to define self versus other processes. These constructs include identifying the target of mentalizing, the source of mentalizing representations, and the visual perspective used in mentalizing-relevant imagery. For each construct, we first describe its key components, including similarities and differences in its manifestations in self- versus other-related processes. We next describe neural correlates underlying each construct, highlighting the role of subsystems of the brain’s default mode network across these constructs. We then examine how over-emphasis on the self in each construct may contribute to social anxiety disorder and psychopathology more broadly. A complete understanding of mentalizing will likely require identifying the similarities and differences among these constructs. By shedding light on the interdependence of different self- and other-related processes in mentalizing, we hope to inform our understanding of both functional and dysfunctional mentalizing, identify potential targets for therapeutic intervention, and suggest exciting areas for future research.
... One common measure of implicit perspective-taking manipulates physical co-presence (Clark, 1996) in a referential communication task (Keysar et al., 2000). Interlocutors' views of some potential referents differ, allowing researchers to infer whether listeners can exploit perspective differences, to either disambiguate a target referent which is in the common/shared ground from a competitor that is occluded from the interlocutor (Keysar et al., 2000;Savitsky et al., 2011) or anticipate an otherwise temporarily ambiguous referent. The logic of the manipulation is to manipulate physical co-presence while using instructions with prenominal scalar adjectives, which typically refers to a referent whose contrast should also be in the common ground. ...
Conference Paper
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We examined how rhythmic activities affect children's perspective-taking in a referential communication task with 69 Chinese 5-to 6-year-old children. The child first played an instrument with a virtual partner in one of three coordination conditions: synchrony, asynchrony, and antiphase synchrony. Eye movements were then monitored with the partner giving instructions to identify a shape referent which included a pre-nominal scalar adjective (e.g., big cubic block). Participants with awareness of their partner's perspective could, in principle, identify the intended referent before the shape was named when the target contrast (a small cubic block) was in shared ground whereas a competitor contrast was occluded for the partner. Children in the asynchrony and antiphase synchrony conditions, but not the synchrony condition, showed anticipatory looks to the target, suggesting that playing instruments asynchronously or in alternation facilitates perspective-taking, likely by training self-other discrimination and inhibitory control.
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Communication errors during transitions of care are a leading source of adverse events for hospitalized patients. This article provides an overview of the role of communication errors in adverse events, describes the complexities of communication for hospitalized patients, and provides evidence regarding the positive effects of applying high-reliability principles to transitions of care and culture of safety. Elements of effective handoffs and a detailed approach for successful implementation of a handoff program are provided. The role of handoff communication in medical education at all levels, as well as for the interprofessional team, is discussed.
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The phenomenon of Moral Distress in nursing practice is described as a situation of suffering that arises when the nurse recognizes the ethically appropriate action to be taken and yet institutional impediments make it impossible for him to follow the right course of action. Dialysis patients often have a complex disease trajectory that sometimes involves professional and emotional challenges for staff, especially at the end of life. The objective of this review is to identify which strategies are useful for preserving emotional integrity and awareness in operational settings, for the benefit of both operators and patients.
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Vocal modulation is a critical component of interpersonal communication. It not only serves as a dynamic and flexible tool for self-expression and linguistic information but also plays a key role in social behavior. Variation in vocal modulation can be driven by individual traits of interlocutors as well as factors relating to the dyad, such as the perceived closeness between interlocutors. In this study we examine both of these sources of variation. At an individual level, we examine the impact of autistic traits, since lack of appropriate vocal modulation has often been associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders. At a dyadic level, we examine the role of perceived closeness between interlocutors on vocal modulation. The study was conducted in three separate samples from India, Italy, and the UK. Articulatory features were extracted from recorded conversations between a total of 85 same-sex pairs of participants, and the articulation space calculated. A larger articulation space corresponds to greater number of spectro-temporal modulations (articulatory variations) sampled by the speaker. Articulation space showed a positive association with interpersonal closeness and a weak negative association with autistic traits. This study thus provides novel insights into individual and dyadic variation that can influence interpersonal vocal communication.
Thesis
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Cognitive scientists have revealed systematic errors in human reasoning. There is disagreement about what these errors indicate about human rationality, but one upshot seems clear: human reasoning does not seem to fit traditional views of human rationality. This concern about rationality has made its way through various fields and has recently caught the attention of philosophers. The concern is that if philosophers are prone to systematic errors in reasoning, then the integrity of philosophy would be threatened. In this paper, I present some of the more famous work in cognitive science that has marshaled this concern. Then I present reasons to think that those with training in philosophy will be less prone to certain systematic errors in reasoning. The suggestion is that if philosophers could be shown to be less prone to such errors, then the worries about the integrity of philosophy could be constrained. Then I present evidence that, according to performance on the CRT (Frederick 2005), those who have benefited from training and selection in philosophy are indeed less prone to one kind of systematic error: irrationally arbitrating between intuitive and reflective responses. Nonetheless, philosophers are not entirely immune to this systematic error, and their proclivity for this error is statistically related to their responses to a variety of philosophical questions. So, while the evidence herein puts constraints on the worries about the integrity of philosophy, it by no means eliminates these worries. The conclusion, then, is that the present evidence offers prima facie reasons to ascribe a mitigated privilege to philosophers' ability to rationally arbitrate between intuitive and reflective responses.
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Theory of mind (ToM) – the understanding that others’ behaviours are connected with internal mental states – is an important part of everyday social cognition. There is increasing behavioral evidence that ToM reasoning can be affected by mood. To gain insight into the ways sad mood may affect the underlying mechanisms of ToM reasoning, we recorded event­related brain potentials (ERPs) as dysphoric (N = 16) and non­dysphoric (N = 24) participants reasoned about a protagonist’s true or false beliefs about an object’s location. Results showed significant group effects on early components of the ERP – individuals in the dysphoric group showed greater amplitudes for the anterior N1 and N2/P2 components relative to those in the non­dysphoric group. Later in the ERP, non­dysphoric individuals showed evidence of neurocognitive dissociations between true and false belief. Dysphoric individuals, however, did not show evidence for these later dissociations. This evidence suggests that dysphoria may be associated with effortful reasoning about other’s mental states, even when that effort is not necessary (i.e., when reasoning about true beliefs). We discuss the implications of these findings for understanding how mood affects ToM reasoning and for how especially deliberative ToM processing in dysphoria may lead to social difficulties.
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Across six studies, we find that both incidental anger and integral anger reduce perspective-taking. In Study 1, participants who felt incidental anger were less likely to take others’ perspectives than those who felt neutral emotion. In Study 2, we demonstrate that arousal mediates the relationship between anger and diminished perspective-taking. In Studies 3 and 4, we show that anger reduces perspective-taking compared to neutral emotion, sadness, and disgust. In Study 5, we find that integral anger impairs perspective-taking compared to neutral emotion. In Study 6, prompting individuals to correctly attribute their feelings of incidental anger moderates the relationship between anger and perspective-taking. Taken together, across different anger inductions and perspective taking measures, we identify a robust relationship between anger and diminished perspective-taking. Our findings have particularly important implications for conflict, which is often characterized by feelings of anger and exacerbated by poor perspective-taking.
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Difficult conversations are a necessary part of everyday life. To help children, employees, and partners learn and improve, parents, managers, and significant others are frequently tasked with the unpleasant job of delivering negative news and critical feedback. Despite the long-term benefits of these conversations, communicators approach them with trepidation, in part, because they perceive them as involving intractable moral conflict between being honest and being kind. In this article, we review recent research on egocentrism, ethics, and communication to explain why communicators overestimate the degree to which honesty and benevolence conflict during difficult conversations, document the conversational missteps people make as a result of this erred perception, and propose more effective conversational strategies that honor the long-term compatibility of honesty and benevolence. This review sheds light on the psychology of moral tradeoffs in conversation, and provides practical advice on how to deliver unpleasant information in ways that improve recipients’ welfare.
Preprint
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Difficult conversations are a necessary part of everyday life. To help children, employees, and partners learn and improve, parents, managers, and significant others are frequently tasked with the unpleasant job of delivering negative news and critical feedback. Despite the long-term benefits of these conversations, communicators approach them with trepidation, in part, because they perceive them as involving intractable moral conflict between being honest and being kind. In this article, we review recent research on egocentrism, ethics, and communication to explain why communicators overestimate the degree to which honesty and benevolence conflict during difficult conversations, document the conversational missteps people make as a result of this erred perception, and propose more effective conversational strategies that honor the long-term compatibility of honesty and benevolence. This review sheds light on the psychology of moral tradeoffs in conversation, and provides practical advice on how to deliver unpleasant information in ways that improve recipients’ welfare.
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This study examined whether and how closeness affected the calculation and selection processes underlying perspective taking. Using the visual dot perspective taking task, we introduced a close friend and a stranger from the participants' university as the perspective-taking targets. Friend and stranger trials were mixed in a block in Experiment 1 but separated in different blocks in Experiment 2. Results revealed a significant effect of closeness on egocentric but not altercentric interference. The analyses on other-consistent and other-inconsistent trials suggested that closeness impeded responding from the avatar's perspective when self and other perspectives differed but facilitated responding from the avatar's perspective when self and other perspectives were consistent. However, the analyses on self-consistent and self-inconsistent trials revealed that the processing cost induced by implicit perspective calculation and other-inhibition was comparable between friends and strangers. These suggested that closeness selectively impeded self-perspective inhibition whereas facilitated explicit perspective calculation.
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In a time characterized by growing uncertainty, e.g. because of the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic, effective leadership is more important than ever. In addition, employee well-being has been named one of the critical drivers of business success. In this dissertation, we therefore answer the following overarching question: Exactly how can leaders contribute to employee well-being? In order to answer this question, we execute several theoretical and empirical studies, and we also develop new ways of investigating leader (communication) behavior itself. In the first part of this dissertation, we look into the main ways in which positive leadership styles influence employee work engagement. In the first theoretical study, we argue why certain leader behaviors are shared across positive leadership styles, and we identify several theory-driven processes and pathways through which leaders can influence employee work engagement. In the second study, a moderated meta-analysis, we investigate the meta-correlation of positive leadership styles and work engagement, as well as provide an empirically-driven overview of categories of mediating and moderating mechanisms, to end up with an overarching research model. In the second part of this dissertation, we look into the role of leaders’ own well-being, for both their own leadership as well as for employee well-being. In the first study, we test a moderated mediation and find that 1) mindfulness is an antecedent of positive leadership (here: transformational leadership), 2) leaders’ psychological need satisfaction mediates the relationship between mindfulness and transformational leadership and 3) neuroticism moderates the relationship between mindfulness and relatedness need satisfaction. In the second study, with multilevel and multisource data, we investigate the trickle-down effect of leaders’ psychological need satisfaction. We find that psychological need satisfaction indeed trickles down to employees, mediated by (employee-rated) levels of LMX. We also find a direct positive association between leader competence and employee competence, as well as a negative one between leader autonomy and employee competence. In the last part of this dissertation, we look into how we can improve leader communication to increase employee well-being. In the first study we develop a new construct and validate a new 10-item questionnaire for leader attentive communication (LAC), i.e. an open-minded, attentive demeanor while in a conversation with an employee. We also find that psychological need satisfaction and Kahn’s conditions for engagement mediate the relationship between LAC and work engagement. In the second study, we devise and test a two-day training protocol to improve leader communication. Despite an interference by the pandemic in the data-collection, we find small increases in employee-rated outcomes after the training. We also find that employee-rated LAC is related to employee well-being, and that this is mediated by both psychological need satisfaction and Kahn’s conditions for engagement.
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Nyomozókkal végzett kísérletünk eredményeiből kiderült, hogy a csak kognitív élményként megélt intenzív kíváncsiság gátolja a gyanúsított nézőpontjának figyelembe vételét. A nyomozók ekkor azt gondolják, hogy amit ők tudnak, azt a gyanúsított is tudja. Az elfogultság e formája a nyomozati információk értékelését torzíthatja.
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The aim of this study was to investigate whether children’s theory of mind performance would differ according to the group membership of the mental inference target. Eighty 3- to 5-year-old children were administered standard theory of mind measures (diverse desires, false belief, and real-apparent emotion tasks) with either an ingroup or an outgroup target. The false belief performance of older 4-year-olds and 5-year-olds, but not 3-year-olds and younger 4-year-olds, was worse (a) with an ingroup than an outgroup target if they demonstrated high ingroup affiliation and (b) when they affiliated with the target, regardless of target group membership. Children’s performance in the diverse desires and real-apparent emotion tasks did not differ according to target group membership and children’s affiliation with the target. Overall, our results suggest that affiliation with the target could potentially undermine older preschoolers’ understanding that the target can hold a belief that deviates from one’s own belief.
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Most developmental research on Theory of Mind (ToM) - our ability to infer the beliefs, intentions, and desires of others - has focused on the preschool years. This is unsurprising since it was previously thought that ToM skills are developed between the ages of 2 and 7 years old (Wellman, Cross, & Watson, 2001). Over the last couple of decades however, studies have provided evidence for significant structural and functional changes in the brain areas involved in ToM (the “social brain”) not only during childhood, but also during adolescence. Importantly, some of these findings suggest that the use of ToM shows a prolonged development through middle childhood and adolescence. Although evidence from previous studies suggests a protracted development of ToM, the factors that constrain performance during middle childhood and adolescence are only just beginning to be explored. In the current paper we report two visual world eye-tracking studies that focus on the timecourse of predictive inferences. We establish that when the complexity of ToM inferences are at a level which is comparable to standard change-of-location False-belief tasks, then adolescents and adults generate predictions for other agents’ behaviour in the same timecourse. However, when inferences are socially more complex, requiring inferences about higher-order mental states, adolescents generate predictive gaze bias at a marked delay relative to adults. Importantly, our results demonstrate that these developmental differences go beyond differences in executive functions (inhibitory control or working memory), and point to distinct expectations between groups and greater uncertainty when predicting actions based on conflicting desires.
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Would you prefer $50 now or $100 in 6 months? What if you made this decision for someone else—would you be more impulsive or more self‐controlled? Some studies suggest we are more impulsive when deciding for ourselves, whereas others suggest the reverse. This might be because some researchers ask participants what they would do whereas others ask what they should do. We investigated the impact of should/would decision type on delay discounting rate in choices for the self and for another person. We also examined the effect of condition order. In Experiment 1 (using a student sample), discounting rates were affected by the combination of decision frame and condition order. Decision frame had a bigger effect on choices in the second condition, perhaps because instructions became clearer when they could be contrasted with the previous set. Experiment 2 (using a Mechanical Turk sample) investigated this possibility by including all possible frames at the beginning of the session; this produced a more consistent would/should difference for choices for the self, but an order effect remained. Experiment 3 isolated task order by having participants complete the same choice task twice. Decisions were significantly more self‐controlled for the second iteration. Together, these results suggest that people are more self‐controlled when making should decisions and (less consistently) decisions for others and that having recently made delay‐amount trade‐off decisions also promotes self‐control. Rates of unsystematic data were unexpectedly high in Experiment 2, particularly among nonmaster Turk workers and those located in India.
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The present study will use a risk-based approach to the exploration and production of hydrocarbons using a similar approach used in studies conducted for the European Commission. In this respect, sub-stages and processes were identified for each stage of economic activity. The approach to offshore operations was based on the assessment of 8 environmental aspects. So we used a risk assessment system, taking into account the consequences and probabilities of the occurrence of the risks. The evaluation was conducted using data collected from the offshore oil industry.
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We tested sarcasm production and identification across original communicators in a spontaneously produced conversational setting, including testing the role of synchronous movement on sarcasm production and identification. Before communicating, stranger dyads participated in either a synchronous or nonsynchronous movement task. They then completed a task designed to elicit sarcasm, although no instruction to produce sarcastic content was provided. After communicating, participants immediately reviewed their conversations and identified their own and their addressees’ sarcastic utterances. No definition of sarcasm was provided. We found that participants who had moved synchronously identified more sarcasm in their own productions. They did not identify more sarcasm in their partner’s productions however. We also discovered that most identifications of sarcasm did not align across conversational participants, and neither did those of outside observers. People reported sarcasm in their addressees commensurate with the sarcasm they produced, rather than the sarcasm that their addressees self-reported. There were numerous cases of sarchasm, where producers’ intended sarcasm was not identified by addressees.
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Recent debates over adults' theory of mind use have been fueled by surprising failures of perspective‐taking in communication, suggesting that perspective‐taking may be relatively effortful. Yet adults routinely engage in effortful processes when needed. How, then, should speakers and listeners allocate their resources to achieve successful communication? We begin with the observation that the shared goal of communication induces a natural division of labor: The resources one agent chooses to allocate toward perspective‐taking should depend on their expectations about the other's allocation. We formalize this idea in a resource‐rational model augmenting recent probabilistic weighting accounts with a mechanism for (costly) control over the degree of perspective‐taking. In a series of simulations, we first derive an intermediate degree of perspective weighting as an optimal trade‐off between expected costs and benefits of perspective‐taking. We then present two behavioral experiments testing novel predictions of our model. In Experiment 1, we manipulated the presence or absence of occlusions in a director–matcher task. We found that speakers spontaneously modulated the informativeness of their descriptions to account for “known unknowns” in their partner's private view, reflecting a higher degree of speaker perspective‐taking than previously acknowledged. In Experiment 2, we then compared the scripted utterances used by confederates in prior work with those produced in interactions with unscripted directors. We found that confederates were systematically less informative than listeners would initially expect given the presence of occlusions, but listeners used violations to adaptively make fewer errors over time. Taken together, our work suggests that people are not simply “mindblind”; they use contextually appropriate expectations to navigate the division of labor with their partner. We discuss how a resource‐rational framework may provide a more deeply explanatory foundation for understanding flexible perspective‐taking under processing constraints.
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To communicate effectively, people must have a reasonably accurate idea about what specific other people know. An obvious starting point for building a model of what another knows is what one oneself knows, or thinks one knows. This article reviews evidence that people impute their own knowledge to others and that, although this serves them well in general, they often do so uncritically, with the result of erroneously assuming that other people have the same knowledge. Overimputation of one's own knowledge can contribute to communication difficulties. Corrective approaches are considered. A conceptualization of where own-knowledge imputation fits in the process of developing models of other people's knowledge is proposed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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The authors propose that people adopt others' perspectives by serially adjusting from their own. As predicted, estimates of others' perceptions were consistent with one's own but differed in a manner consistent with serial adjustment (Study 1). Participants were slower to indicate that another's perception would be different from--rather than similar to--their own (Study 2). Egocentric biases increased under time pressure (Study 2) and decreased with accuracy incentives (Study 3). Egocentric biases also increased when participants were more inclined to accept plausible values encountered early in the adjustment process than when inclined to reject them (Study 4). Finally, adjustments tend to be insufficient, in part, because people stop adjusting once a plausible estimate is reached (Study 5).
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The present research demonstrated that horizontal collectivism (HC), the tendency to emphasize social bonds and interdependence, is associated with overestimating the extent to which one's preferences, feelings, and behavioral inclinations are transparent to close others. The link between HC and felt transparency was mediated by self-other merging but was not significantly mediated by perceived similarity, behavioral closeness, or metaperception positivity. Evidence of a causal connection was obtained in an experiment where individuals for whom interdependence was primed exhibited greater transparency overestimation than did those for whom it was not. Additional results indicated that higher HC is associated with greater confidence but not greater accuracy in judgments about a friend. The authors argue that other perspective-taking deficits involving overuse of the self in judgments of others should also be exacerbated by the self-other merging that is associated with HC.
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Proposes that speakers, addressees, and overhearers reduce the uncertainty of linguistic utterances by using an anchoring and adjustment heuristic. This chapter reviews evidence that language users tend to anchor on their own perspective and attempt to adjust to the perspective of others. These adjustments are typically insufficient, and can occasionally cause miscommunication. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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This article examines the effect of high perceived consensus/projection on predictive accuracy and identifies those conditions where perceiving consensus indeed diminishes performance and where it is a reasonable prediction strategy. A model was developed to show how subjects should optimally weight their own positions compared with whatever other target-related information was available to them. Subjects predicted the attitudes of one of three target populations: the average, married American consumer; their average graduate school peer; or their spouse. The results indicated that although perceived consensus was quite high, 65% of the subjects could have actually increased their predictive accuracy by weighting their own positions even more. The heuristic value of relying on own positions varied dramatically depending on the target population: Although 63% of subjects predicting the attitudes of consumers projected too much, only 16% and 24% of subjects predicting attitudes of peers and spouses overprojected. Even when subjects perceived more consensus than actually existed, they often could have increased predictive accuracy by relying more heavily on their own attitudes because they seemed to have difficulty in identifying and consistently using other information about the target. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Children generally behave more egocentrically than adults when assessing another's perspective. We argue that this difference does not, however, indicate that adults process information less egocentrically than children, but rather that adults are better able to subsequently correct an initial egocentric interpretation. An experiment tracking participants' eye movements during a referential communication task indicated that children and adults were equally quick to interpret a spoken instruction egocentrically but differed in the speed with which they corrected that interpretation and looked at the intended (i.e., non-egocentric) object. The existing differences in egocentrism between children and adults therefore seems less a product of where people start in their perspective taking process than where they stop, with lingering egocentric biases among adults produced by insufficient correction of an automatic moment of egocentrism. We suggest that this pattern of similarity in automatic, but not controlled, processes may explain between-group differences in a variety of dual-process judgments.
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It makes sense that the more information people share, the better they communicate. To evaluate the effect of knowledge overlap on the effectiveness of communication, participants played a communication game where the "director" identified objects to the "addressee". Pairs either shared information about most objects' names (high overlap), or about the minority of objects' names (low overlap). We found that high-overlap directors tended to use more names than low overlap directors. High overlap directors also used more names with objects whose names only they knew, thereby confusing their addressees more often than low-overlap directors. We conclude that while sharing more knowledge can be beneficial to communication overall, it can cause communication to be locally ineffective. Sharing more information reduces communication effectiveness precisely when there is an opportunity to inform-when people communicate information only they themselves know.
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Newcomb's (1953) idea of co-orientation (interdependence between two persons' attitudes or perceptions) is used as a framework within which interpersonal perception between friends and acquaintances is examined. The principal question is whether co-orientation effects are stronger for friendship dyads than for acquaintance dyads. More specifically, the study examines the degree to which consensus, assimilation, self-other agreement, and assumed similarity differ. The social relations model is used to analyze a data set that included 16 living groups with 119 friend dyads and 1.668 acquaintance dyads. Results indicate that co-orientation effects are more pronounced in friendship dyads. The increment in co-orientation effects is largely due to similarities in the unique or idiosyncratic perceptions that people have of friendship pairs as well as the unique agreement about others that friends have with one another.
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Research suggests that people initially take their subjective experience of an object as an accurate reflection of the object's properties, and only subsequently, occasionally, and effortfully consider the possibility that their experience was influenced by extraneous factors. The two studies reported here demonstrate that this is true even when the extraneous factors are the person's own dispositions. Dispositionally happy and unhappy participants were falsely told that they had been subliminally primed with words that might have influenced their moods, and were then asked to identify those words. Dispositionally happy participants were more likely than dispositionally unhappy participants to conclude that they had been primed with positive words, but only when they made these judgments under time pressure. The results are discussed in terms of correction models of human judgment.
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When people interpret language, they can reduce the ambiguity of linguistic expressions by using information about perspective: the speaker's, their own, or a shared perspective. In order to investigate the mental processes that underlie such perspective taking, we tracked people's eye movements while they were following instructions to manipulate objects. The eye fixation data in two experiments demonstrate that people do not restrict the search for referents to mutually known objects. Eye movements indicated that addressees considered objects as potential referents even when the speaker could not see those objects, requiring addressees to use mutual knowledge to correct their interpretation. Thus, people occasionally use an egocentric heuristic when they comprehend. We argue that this egocentric heuristic is successful in reducing ambiguity, though it could lead to a systematic error.
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Successful communication depends in part on an ability to anticipate miscommunication. We investigated speakers' ability to gauge their addressees' understanding. Participants in our experiments were asked to say ambiguous sentences while attempting to convey a specific intention to their addressee. When they estimated the addressee's understanding of the intended meaning, they showed a consistent tendency to overestimate their effectiveness. They expected the addressee to understand more often than the addressee actually did. In contrast, overhearers who were informed about the speakers intention did not systematically overestimate the speakers' effectiveness. Our findings suggest that when speakers monitor their own utterances, they do not act as unbiased observers. Instead, they underestimate the ambiguity of their own utterances and overestimate the extent to which their disambiguating cues make their intention transparent. Such overestimation could be a systematic source of miscommunication in natural conversation, and should be accounted for by any theory of language production.
Shared representations between self and other: a social cognitive neuroscience view Perspective taking as egocentric anchoring and adjustment Perspective taking in children and adults: equivalent egocentrism but differential correction The momentary realist
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Self-anchoring in conversation: why language users do not do what they " should Heuristics and biases: the psychology of intuitive judgment (pp. 150−166)
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