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How accurately can other people infer your thoughts -- and does culture matter?

Valanides, Constantinos; Sheppard, Elizabeth; Mitchell, Peter

Authors

Constantinos Valanides

Elizabeth Sheppard

Peter Mitchell



Abstract

This research investigated how accurately people infer what others are thinking after observing a brief sample of their behaviour and whether culture/similarity is a relevant factor. Target participants (14 British and 14 Mediterraneans) were cued to think about either positive or negative events they had experienced. Subsequently, perceiver participants (16 British and 16 Mediterraneans) watched videos of the targets thinking about these things. Perceivers (both groups) were significantly accurate in judging when targets had been cued to think of something positive versus something negative, indicating notable inferential ability. Additionally, Mediterranean perceivers were better than British perceivers in making such inferences, irrespective of nationality of the targets, something that was statistically accounted for by corresponding group differences in levels of independently measured collectivism. The results point to the need for further research to investigate the possibility that being reared in a collectivist culture fosters ability in interpreting others’ behaviour.

Journal Article Type Article
Journal PLoS ONE
Electronic ISSN 1932-6203
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 11
Article Number e0187586
APA6 Citation Valanides, C., Sheppard, E., & Mitchell, P. (in press). How accurately can other people infer your thoughts -- and does culture matter?. PLoS ONE, 12(11), https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0187586
DOI https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0187586
Keywords Interpersonal inferences, retrodiction, culture, collectivism, individualism
Publisher URL http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0187586
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0





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