Forecasting Reticence in Conversations: Correlates and Causes

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Hirschi, Quinn, Psychology - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Wilson, Timothy, AS-Psychology, University of Virginia

Conversations with new people generally go well and lead to greater liking; those who speak up are often particularly well-liked. However, people underestimate how much their new conversation partners like them, a phenomenon that has been termed the liking gap. This might occur because people project their negative self-views about their conversational abilities onto their conversation partners through a process called egocentric projection. I have discovered that people think the best strategy for being liked in a conversation with someone new is to speak significantly less than 50% of the time, and have termed this phenomenon forecasting reticence. In Studies 1 and 2, I find evidence that forecasting reticence, similar to the liking gap, is caused, at least in part, by conversational insecurities. In Study 2, I find that forecasting reticence is related to real conversational behavior. Finally, in Study 3, I confirm that forecasting reticence reflects a hesitance to speak up that is independent of people’s hesitance to self-disclose. This research uncovers more about the correlates and causes of forecasting reticence.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Conversation, Meta-Perception, Social Perception, Interpersonal Perception, Affective Forecasting
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