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Clinical Trial
, 83 (2), 300-12

Empathy Neglect: Reconciling the Spotlight Effect and the Correspondence Bias

Affiliations
Clinical Trial

Empathy Neglect: Reconciling the Spotlight Effect and the Correspondence Bias

Nicholas Epley et al. J Pers Soc Psychol.

Abstract

When people commit an embarrassing blunder, they typically overestimate how harshly they will be judged by others. This tendency can seem to fly in the face of research on the correspondence bias, which has established that observers are, in fact, quite likely to draw harsh dispositional inferences about others. These seemingly inconsistent literatures are reconciled by showing that actors typically neglect to consider the extent to which observers will moderate their correspondent inferences when they can easily adopt an actor's perspective or imagine being in his or her shoes. These results help to explain why actors can overestimate the strength of observers' dispositional inferences even when, as the literature on the correspondence bias attests, observers are notoriously prone to drawing those very inferences.

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