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Psychol Sci. 2017 Apr;28(4):482-493. doi: 10.1177/0956797616687124. Epub 2017 Feb 1.

Inferring Perspective Versus Getting Perspective: Underestimating the Value of Being in Another Person's Shoes.

Author information

1
1 School of Entrepreneurship and Management, Shanghai Tech University.
2
2 Department of Psychology, Elmhurst College.
3
3 Booth School of Business, University of Chicago.

Abstract

People use at least two strategies to solve the challenge of understanding another person's mind: inferring that person's perspective by reading his or her behavior (theorization) and getting that person's perspective by experiencing his or her situation (simulation). The five experiments reported here demonstrate a strong tendency for people to underestimate the value of simulation. Predictors estimated a stranger's emotional reactions toward 50 pictures. They could either infer the stranger's perspective by reading his or her facial expressions or simulate the stranger's perspective by watching the pictures he or she viewed. Predictors were substantially more accurate when they got perspective through simulation, but overestimated the accuracy they had achieved by inferring perspective. Predictors' miscalibrated confidence stemmed from overestimating the information revealed through facial expressions and underestimating the similarity in people's reactions to a given situation. People seem to underappreciate a useful strategy for understanding the minds of others, even after they gain firsthand experience with both strategies.

KEYWORDS:

open data; perspective taking; social cognition; social judgment; theory of mind

PMID:
28406380
DOI:
10.1177/0956797616687124
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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