14 August 2009

Friends Don't Let Friends Know Everything

[O]ne of the nicest things a friend can do is let us misunderstand them just a little.

“If you don’t know everything about someone else, you still enjoy the time you spend with each other,” says Delia Baldassarri, a sociologist and assistant professor at Princeton who has studied people’s perceptions of their friends’ political attitudes. “In certain ways, you may even enjoy it more.”

Fascinating insights into the illusion of knowing your friends.

Thanks to Mind Hacks for pointing out this correction:
The article has a bit of a quirk, however, by supposedly explaining "Psychologists call this projection: in situations where there’s any ambiguity, people tend to simply project their feelings and thoughts onto others".

Except, they don't. The effect discussed by the article, where we over-estimate the extent to which people share our own mindset, is called the false consensus effect.

Projection is a unverified psychological defence mechanism where people supposedly misperceive psychological states in other people that, in reality, they have themselves but unconsciously want to hide from their conscious mind.

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