New Study Debunks Dale Carnegie Advice
New Study Debunks Dale Carnegie Advice
June 21, 2018
Press Releases, Social Sciences & Humanities
“Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and relying on intuition or ‘gut instinct’ isn’t an accurate way to determine what they’re thinking or feeling,” say researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), the University of Chicago and Northeastern University.
“We incorrectly presume that taking someone else’s perspective will help us understand and improve interpersonal relationships,” the research team says in a new study published in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. “If you want an accurate understanding of what someone is thinking or feeling, don’t make assumptions, just ask.”
The researchers debunk the theories canonized in Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People that assuming you understand someone else’s thoughts, feelings, attitude, or mental state is a correct approach to interpersonal insight.
The study included an exhaustive series of 25 experiments designed to separate accuracy from egotism. The researchers asked participants to adopt another person’s perspective and predict their emotions based on facial expressions and body postures, identify fake versus genuine smiles, spot when someone is lying or telling the truth, and even predict a spouse’s activity preferences and consumer attitudes.
“Initially a large majority of participants believed that taking someone else’s perspective would help them achieve more accurate interpersonal insight,” the researchers said. “However, test results showed that their predictive assumptions were not generally accurate, although it did make them feel more confident about their judgement and reduced egocentric biases.”
Ultimately, the researchers confirmed gaining perspective directly through conversation is the most accurate approach.
The research team included Dr. Tal Eyal, a member of BGU’s Department of Psychology; Prof. Nicholas Epley, the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago, and Prof. Mary Steffel, who is a member of the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University.
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By supporting a world-class academic institution that not only nurtures the Negev, but also shares its expertise locally and globally, Americans for Ben-Gurion University engages a community of Americans who are committed to improving the world. David Ben-Gurion envisioned that Israel’s future would be forged in the Negev. The cutting-edge research carried out at Ben-Gurion University drives that vision by sustaining a desert Silicon Valley, with the “Stanford of the Negev” at its center. The Americans for Ben-Gurion University movement supports a 21st century unifying vision for Israel by rallying around BGU’s remarkable work and role as an apolitical beacon of light in the Negev desert.
About Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev embraces the endless potential we have as individuals and as a commonality to adapt and to thrive in changing environments. Inspired by our location in the desert, we aim to discover, to create, and to develop solutions to dynamic challenges, to pose questions that have yet to be asked, and to push beyond the boundaries of the commonly accepted and possible.
We are proud to be a central force for inclusion, diversity and innovation in Israel, and we strive to extend the Negev’s potential and our entrepreneurial spirit throughout the world. For example, the multi-disciplinary School for Sustainability and Climate Change at BGU leverages over 50 years of expertise on living and thriving in the desert into scalable solutions for people everywhere.
BGU at a glance:
20,000 students | 800 senior faculty | 3 campuses | 6 faculties: humanities & social sciences, health sciences, engineering sciences, natural sciences, business & management, and desert research.
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