How to Seem Telepathic: Enabling Mind Reading by Matching Construal
By: Tal Eyal and Nicholas Epley
People can have difficulty intuiting what others think about them at least partly because people evaluate themselves in more fine-grained detail than observers do. This mismatch in the level of detail at which people construe themselves versus others diminishes accuracy in social judgment. Being a more accurate mind reader requires thinking of oneself at a higher level of construal that matches the observer’s construal (Experiments 1 and 2), and this strategy is more effective in this context than perspective taking (Experiments 3a and 3b). Accurately intuiting how others evaluate themselves requires the opposite strategy—thinking about others in a lower level of construal that matches the way people evaluate themselves (Experiment 4). Accurately reading other minds to know how one is evaluated by others—or how others evaluate themselves—requires focusing one’s evaluative lens at the right level of detail.