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Interview Illusion

 

Explanations > Theories > Interview Illusion

Description | Research | Example | So What? | See also | References 

 

Description

After only a brief conversation with another person, we believe we understand them well enough to be able to predict their behavior in all kinds of different situations. As we learn more about the person, we may change this view, but each time we will end up believing our revised model is sufficient to predict.

We also tend to integrate this perception so well we forget how we felt before we created this perception. We believe that we have always seen the person in this way.

Our deep need to predict and the limited time we have with others leads us to use this short-cut approach. Our needs for consistency and Hindsight Bias affects our changing perception of ourselves.

Example

Parents and especially grandparents are often shocked at the behavior of young people. They have forgotten and revised their perception of their former adolescent misbehaved selves.

So what?

Particularly when you first meet people, help them to form a useful prediction model of yourself. If things go wrong, don't worry. Although it is more difficult, once you have convinced them that you have changed, unless you have seriously betrayed them, they will forget how they previously perceived you (literally forgiving and forgetting).

See also

Stereotypes, Fundamental Attribution Error, Confirmation Bias, Hindsight Bias

Prediction, Consistency

References

Kunda and Nisbett (1986)

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