Mind-Reading in Strategic Interaction: The Impact of Perceived Similarity on Projection and Stereotyping
15 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2013
Date Written: 2012
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
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