Empathy neglect: reconciling the spotlight effect and the correspondence bias.

Published on Aug 1, 2002in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
· DOI :10.1037/0022-3514.83.2.300
Nicholas Epley46
Estimated H-index: 46
(Harvard University),
Kenneth Savitsky19
Estimated H-index: 19
(Williams College),
Thomas Gilovich61
Estimated H-index: 61
(Cornell University)
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.
📖 Papers frequently viewed together
541 Citations
135 Citations
1,141 Citations
#1Mario Mikulincer (BIU: Bar-Ilan University)H-Index: 90
#2Omri GillathH-Index: 34
Last. Nitzan EshkoliH-Index: 1
view all 6 authors...
Five studies examined the effects of chronic and contextual activation of attachment security on reactions to others' needs. The sense of attachment security was contextually primed by asking participants to recollect personal memories, read a story, or look at a picture of supportive others or by subliminally exposing them to proximity-related words. This condition was compared against the priming of neutral themes, positive affect, or attachment-insecurity schemas. Then reports of empathy and ...
610 CitationsSource
#1Kenneth Savitsky (Williams College)H-Index: 19
#2Nicholas EpleyH-Index: 46
Last. Thomas GilovichH-Index: 61
view all 3 authors...
When people suffer an embarrassing blunder, social mishap, or public failure, they often feel that their image has been severely tarnished in the eyes of others. Four studies demonstrate that these fears are commonly exaggerated. Actors who imagined committing one of several social blunders (Study 1), who experienced a public intellectual failure (Studies 2 and 3), or who were described in an embarrassing way (Study 4) anticipated being judged more harshly by others than they actually were. Thes...
135 CitationsSource
People typically believe they are more likely to engage in selfless, kind, and generous behaviors than their peers, a result that is both logically and statistically suspect. However, this oft-documented tendency presents an important ambiguity. Do people feel holier than thou because they harbor overly cynical views of their peers (but accurate impressions of themselves) or overly charitable views of themselves (and accurate impressions of their peers)? Four studies suggested it was the latter....
869 CitationsSource
The durability bias, the tendency to overpredict the duration of affective reactions to future events, may be due in part to focalism, whereby people focus too much on the event in question and not enough on the consequences of other future events. If so, asking people to think about other future activities should reduce the durability bias. In Studies 1-3, college football fans were less likely to overpredict how long the outcome of a football game would influence their happiness if they first ...
940 CitationsSource
#1Thomas Gilovich (Cornell University)H-Index: 61
Last. Kenneth Savitsky (Williams College)H-Index: 19
view all 3 authors...
This research provides evidence that people overestimate the extent to which their actions and appearance are noted by others, a phenomenon dubbed the spotlight effect. In Studies 1 and 2, participants who were asked to don a T-shirt depicting either a flattering or potentially embarrassing image overestimated the number of observers who would be able to recall what was pictured on the shirt. In Study 3, participants in a group discussion overestimated how prominent their positive and negative u...
541 CitationsSource
#1Thomas Gilovich (Cornell University)H-Index: 61
#2Kenneth Savitsky (Williams College)H-Index: 19
We review a program of research that examines people s judgments about how they are seen by others. The research indicates that people tend to anchor on their own experience when making such judgments, with the result that their assessments are often egocentrically biased. Our review focuses on two biases in particular, the spotlight effect, or people s tendency to overestimate the extent to which their behavior and appearance are noticed and evaluated by others, and the illusion of transparency...
65 CitationsSource
#1Dale T. Miller (Princeton University)H-Index: 55
The self-interest motive is singularly powerful according to many of the most influential theories of human behavior and the layperson alike. In the present article the author examines the role the assumption of self-interest plays in its own confirmation. It is proposed that a norm exists in Western cultures that specifies self-interest both is and ought to be a powerful determinant of behavior. This norm influences people's actions and opinions as well as the accounts they give for their actio...
570 CitationsSource
#1Justin Kruger (UIUC: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign)H-Index: 26
Like the inhabitants of Garrison Keillor's (1985) fictional community of Lake Wobegon, most people appear to believe that their skills and abilities are above average. A series of studies illustrates one of the reasons why: When people compare themselves with their peers, they focus egocentrically on their own skills and insufficiently take into account the skills of the comparison group. This tendency engenders the oft-documented above-average effect in domains in which absolute skills tend to ...
568 CitationsSource
The chameleon effect refers to nonconscious mimicry of the postures, mannerisms, facial expressions, and other behaviors of one's interaction partners, such that one's behavior passively and unintentionally changes to match that of others in one's current social environment. The authors suggest that the mechanism involved is Has. perception-behavior link, the recently documented finding (e.g., J. A. Bargh, M. Chen, & L. Burrows, 1996) that the mere perception of another's behavior automatically ...
2,543 CitationsSource
Cited By78
#1Yookyung Park (College of Business Administration)H-Index: 1
#2Youjae Yi (College of Business Administration)H-Index: 37
Abstract The main purpose of this research is to investigate whether, why, and when givers and recipients perceive the value of a discounted gift differently. The studies provide convergent evidence that givers perceive discounted gifts as less valuable than regular-priced gifts whereas recipients do not perceive them as different. Givers' devaluation of the discounted gift is driven by their concern about the thoughtfulness of a gift. Moreover, the giver-recipient asymmetry is mitigated when th...
#1Konrad Bocian (UKC: University of Kent)H-Index: 8
#2Wieslaw Baryla (University of Social Sciences and Humanities)H-Index: 6
Last. Bogdan Wojciszke (University of Social Sciences and Humanities)H-Index: 10
view all 3 authors...
We review past and recent literature on how egocentrism shapes moral judgements. We focus on mechanisms by which egocentric evaluations appear to people as objective, impartial and morally right. We also show that people seem to be unaware of these biases and suggest that understanding how egocentrism impacts moral judgements demands studying morality embedded in a specific social context rather than the social void created in a laboratory. Finally, we argue that egocentric biases in moral judge...
2 CitationsSource
#1Rebecca J. Krause (NU: Northwestern University)H-Index: 1
#2Derek D. Rucker (NU: Northwestern University)H-Index: 3
Last. Derek D. Rucker (NU: Northwestern University)H-Index: 42
view all 2 authors...
To avoid threats to the self, people shun comparisons with similar-yet immoral, mentally unstable, or otherwise negatively viewed-others. Despite this prevalent perspective, we consider a contrarian question: Can people be attracted to darker versions of themselves? We propose that with self-threat assuaged, similarity signals self-relevance, which draws people toward those who are similar to them despite negative characteristics. To test this general idea, we explored a prevalent context that m...
1 CitationsSource
#1Alice Moon (UPenn: University of Pennsylvania)H-Index: 2
#1Alice Moon (UPenn: University of Pennsylvania)H-Index: 1
Last. Clayton R. Critcher (University of California, Berkeley)H-Index: 14
view all 3 authors...
As actors in a social world, people constantly engage in behaviors that put their traits and abilities on stage. But do actors understand the implications of these social performances for how others view them? Seven studies support an overblown implications effect: Actors overestimate how much observers think an actor’s one-off success or failure offers clear insight about the actor’s relevant trait. Actors overestimated how much observers would draw inferences about actors’ intelligence (Study ...
#1Siew H. Chan (University of North Georgia)H-Index: 8
#2Suparak Janjarasjit (MSU: Mahasarakham University)H-Index: 1
Abstract This study provides insight into hackers’ reaction toward an information security breach perpetuated either with an ill or good intention. To our knowledge, limited research is available for promoting understanding of whether intent induces different perceived moral affect (i.e., a perpetrator should have feelings of regret, sorrow, guilt, and shame) which explains the effect of perceived intensity of emotional distress on responsibility judgment. Further, research is sparse on enhancin...
3 CitationsSource
#1Biao Luo (USTC: University of Science and Technology of China)H-Index: 1
#2Wenpei Fang (USTC: University of Science and Technology of China)H-Index: 1
Last. Xue Fei Cong (USTC: University of Science and Technology of China)H-Index: 1
view all 4 authors...
Abstract This research explores the effect of gift–image congruence on the recipient's gift appreciation, and the moderating effects of intimacy and the recipient's relationship dependence in romantic relationships. The results show that gift-recipient image congruence has a positive effect on the recipient's gift appreciation, while the effect of gift-giver image congruence on gift appreciation is insignificant or even negative in Chinese and non-Chinese samples. For both Chinese and non-Chines...
2 CitationsSource
#1Nicholas Epley (U of C: University of Chicago)H-Index: 46
#2Tal Eyal (BGU: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)H-Index: 13
Abstract People care about the minds of others, attempting to understand others' thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, intentions, and emotions using a highly sophisticated process of social cognition. Others' minds are among the most complicated systems that any person will ever think about, meaning that inferences about them are also made imperfectly. Research on the processes that enable mental state inference has largely developed in isolation from research examining the accuracy of these inferences...
1 CitationsSource
#1Alexander Dinges (UHH: University of Hamburg)H-Index: 4
Salience-sensitivity is a form of anti-intellectualism that says the following: whether a true belief amounts to knowledge depends on which error-possibilities are salient to the believer. I will investigate whether salience-sensitivity can be motivated by appeal to bank case intuitions. I will suggest that so-called third-person bank cases threaten to sever the connection between bank case intuitions and salience-sensitivity. I will go on to argue that salience-sensitivists can overcome this wo...
2 CitationsSource
#1Vanessa K. BohnsH-Index: 12
#2Daniel A. NewarkH-Index: 5
Last. Erica J. BoothbyH-Index: 5
view all 3 authors...
Abstract Purpose We explore how, and how accurately, people assess their influence over others’ behavior and attitudes. We describe the process by which a person would determine whether he or she was responsible for changing someone else’s behavior or attitude, and the perceptual, motivational, and cognitive factors that are likely to impact whether an influencer’s claims of responsibility are excessive, insufficient, or accurate. Methodology/approach We first review classic work on social influ...
2 CitationsSource
#1Li Jiang (CMU: Carnegie Mellon University)H-Index: 3
#2Aimee Drolet (UCLA: University of California, Los Angeles)H-Index: 21
Last. Carol A. Scott (UCLA: University of California, Los Angeles)H-Index: 8
view all 3 authors...
The fear of embarrassment can have harmful effects in many important consumer domains (e.g. health and financial), especially for high public self-consciousness (PUBSC) consumers. This research examines how adopting the perspective of an observer interacts with trait PUBSC to influence embarrassment-avoidance. Study 1 demonstrates that individuals high in PUBSC (vs. not) are more likely to take an actor’s perspective and to feel personal distress when viewing an ad with an embarrassment appeal. ...
1 CitationsSource