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There’s Only One Way to Truly Understand Another Person’s Mind

Instead of imagining ourselves in another person’s position, we need to actually get their perspective, according to a recent study in the Journal of Personality and Psychology. Researchers from the University of Chicago and Northeastern University in the U.S. and Ben Gurion University in Israel conducted 25 different experiments with strangers, friends, couples, and spouses to assess the accuracy of insights into other’s thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and mental states. Their conclusion, as psychologist Tal Eyal tells Quartz: “We assume that another person thinks or feels about things as we do, when in fact they often do not. So we often use our own perspective to understand other people, but our perspective is often very different from the other person’s perspective.” This “egocentric bias” leads to inaccurate predictions about other people’s feelings and preferences.

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