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Bad Psychology

Hardly shocking, but it turns out people are much better at predicting the behavior of others than themselves:

Psychologists have identified an important reason why our insight into our own psyches is so poor. Emily Balcetis and David Dunning found that when predicting our own behaviour, we fail to take the influence of the situation into account. By contrast, when predicting the behaviour of others, we correctly factor in the influence of the circumstances. This means that we’re instinctually good social psychologists but at the same time we’re poor self-psychologists.

It’s interesting to think about what puts us in social-psychologist mode and whether we can switch that on for ourselves. Obviously it’s not natural, but it’s got to be possible, right?

[Via Barking Up The Wrong Tree]

January 9, 2012 // This post is about: , ,

Comments

  • Brad says:

    Then it’s a safe bet that when we hear someone utter, “If I were you, I’d…” we are actually witnessing irony in the wild. That, or just a big lie.

  • James says:

    Definitely. This is essentially what Cognitive Behavioural Therapy aims to do. It can be quite disappointing to find that things you thought were unique features of a brilliant mind are in fact common cognitive errors. But it’s useful to be able to flick the switch into diagnostics mode when necessary!

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