The current research investigated whether mind-sets and contexts that afford a focus on self-other differences can facilitate perceptual and conceptual forms of perspective taking. Supporting this hypothesis, results showed that directly priming a difference mind-set made perceivers more likely to spontaneously adopt other people's visual perspectives (Experiment 1) and less likely to overimpute their own privileged knowledge to others (Experiments 2 and 3). Given that intergroup encounters typically evoke a difference mind-set, we also explored the possibility that such contexts might help perceivers to step outside their own perspectives. As predicted, perceivers were less "cursed" by their own privileged knowledge when mentalizing about out-group targets than when mentalizing about in-group targets (Experiment 4) and communicated more effectively with interaction partners whose minimal-group membership differed from their own (Experiment 5). Overall, acknowledging self-other differences allowed perceivers to look beyond the limits of their own perspectives and thereby provided an efficacious route to intuiting other people's minds.

A. Todd, K. Hanko, Adam Galinsky, and T. Mussweiler
Journal Article
Publication Date
Psychological Science

Full Citation

Todd, A., K. Hanko, Adam Galinsky, and T. Mussweiler
. “When focusing on differences leads to similar perspectives.”
Psychological Science
, (January 01, 2011):