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Abstract

People often fail to employ the best strategies to understand the minds of others. One such overlooked strategy includes perspective getting (i.e., directly asking others what they think). In one experiment conducted virtually, I tested interpersonal accuracy and confidence among participants in the United States and China. Participants were recruited in pairs. One person within each pair was randomly assigned to the role of predictor and asked to predict how their partner would respond to a series of statements about their activity preferences. Pairs were then randomly assigned to one of three conditions: 1) Perspective Getting - All (predictors were instructed to directly ask their partner about each statement), 2) Perspective Getting - Choice (predictors were given the option to directly ask their partner about selected statements), or 3) Control (predictors did not get perspective). Results revealed that predictors were significantly more accurate in predicting their partner’s responses if they got perspective. That is, predictors in the Perspective Getting - All and Choice conditions were more accurate than predictors in the Control condition. In the Perspective Getting - Choice condition, predictors were more accurate on statements they directly got perspective on versus not. Turning to confidence, predictors were overconfident about the accuracy of their predictions in all conditions. Finally, the patterns of results did not vary by country; however, predictors in the United States were overall more accurate than predictors in China. As these results demonstrate, people do not have accurate insight into the effectiveness of getting perspective which has consequences for how we decide to understand and learn about the minds of others.

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