The Surprising Power of Neighborly Advice

Published on Mar 20, 2009in Science41.845
· DOI :10.1126/SCIENCE.1166632
Daniel T. Gilbert65
Estimated H-index: 65
(Harvard University),
Matthew A. Killingsworth3
Estimated H-index: 3
(Harvard University)
+ 1 AuthorsTimothy D. Wilson78
Estimated H-index: 78
(UVA: University of Virginia)
Two experiments revealed that (i) people can more accurately predict their affective reactions to a future event when they know how a neighbor in their social network reacted to the event than when they know about the event itself and (ii) people do not believe this. Undergraduates made more accurate predictions about their affective reactions to a 5-minute speed date (n = 25) and to a peer evaluation (n = 88) when they knew only how another undergraduate had reacted to these events than when they had information about the events themselves. Both participants and independent judges mistakenly believed that predictions based on information about the event would be more accurate than predictions based on information about how another person had reacted to it.
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