Mind-Reading in Strategic Interaction: The Impact of Perceived Similarity on Projection and Stereotyping

15 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2013  

Daniel Ames

Columbia Business School - Management

Elke U. Weber

Columbia Business School - Management & Psychology

Xi (Canny) Zou

London Business School

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

In social dilemmas, negotiations, and other forms of strategic interaction, mind-reading – intuiting another party’s preferences and intentions – has an important impact on an actor’s own behavior. In this paper, we present a model of how perceivers shift between social projection (using one’s own mental states to intuit a counterpart’s mental states) and stereotyping (using general assumptions about a group to intuit a counterpart’s mental states). Study 1 extends prior work on perceptual dilemmas in arms races, examining Americans’ perceptions of Chinese attitudes toward military escalation. Study 2 adapts a prisoner’s dilemma, pairing participants with outgroup targets. Study 3 employs an ultimatum game, asking male and female participants to make judgments about opposite sex partners. Study 4 manipulates perceived similarity as well as counterpart stereotype in a principal-agent context. Across the studies, we find evidence for our central prediction: higher levels of perceived similarity are associated with increased projection and reduced stereotyping.

Keywords: Social projection, Stereotyping, Perceived similarity, Social dilemma, Cooperation, Competition, False consensus, Perceptual dilemma

Suggested Citation

Ames, Daniel and Weber, Elke U. and Zou, Xi (Canny), Mind-Reading in Strategic Interaction: The Impact of Perceived Similarity on Projection and Stereotyping (2012). Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 117, 96-110 (2012); Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 13-53. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2291580

Daniel Ames

Columbia Business School - Management ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Elke U. Weber (Contact Author)

Columbia Business School - Management & Psychology ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Xi Zou

London Business School ( email )

Sussex Place
Regent's Park
London, NW1 4SA
United Kingdom

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