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. 2005 Dec;89(6):925-36.
doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.89.6.925.

Egocentrism Over E-Mail: Can We Communicate as Well as We Think?

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Egocentrism Over E-Mail: Can We Communicate as Well as We Think?

Justin Kruger et al. J Pers Soc Psychol. .

Abstract

Without the benefit of paralinguistic cues such as gesture, emphasis, and intonation, it can be difficult to convey emotion and tone over electronic mail (e-mail). Five experiments suggest that this limitation is often underappreciated, such that people tend to believe that they can communicate over e-mail more effectively than they actually can. Studies 4 and 5 further suggest that this overconfidence is born of egocentrism, the inherent difficulty of detaching oneself from one's own perspective when evaluating the perspective of someone else. Because e-mail communicators "hear" a statement differently depending on whether they intend to be, say, sarcastic or funny, it can be difficult to appreciate that their electronic audience may not.

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