The Illusion Of Insight: Couples Sometimes Communicate No Better Than Strangers (Study 2011; in ScienceDaily)

“”People commonly believe that they communicate better with close friends than with strangers. That closeness can lead people to overestimate how well they communicate, a phenomenon we term the ‘closeness-communication bias,'” said Boaz Keysar, a professor in psychology at the University of Chicago and a leading expert on communications. […]

“A wife who says to her husband, ‘it’s getting hot in here,’ as a hint for her husband to turn up the air conditioning a notch, may be surprised when he interprets her statement as a coy, amorous advance instead,” said Savitsky, who is lead author of the paper, published in the January issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

“Although speakers expected their spouse to understand them better than strangers, accuracy rates for spouses and strangers were statistically identical. This result is striking because speakers were more confident that they were understood by their spouse,” Savitsky said. […]

Savitsky conducted a similar experiment with 60 Williams College students. In the study, the students overestimated their effectiveness in communicating with friends, replicating the pattern found with married couples.”

Kenneth Savitsky, Boaz Keysar, Nicholas Epley, Travis Carter, Ashley Swanson. The closeness-communication bias: Increased egocentrism among friends versus strangers. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 2011; 47 (1): 269
DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2010.09.005

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110120090954.htm

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