Becoming Clairvoyant: How to See Yourself the Way Others See You
Want to know how other people perceive you? Get out of your head, and think abstractly!
Almost 30% of YouJustGetMe users consider themselves Soul Seekers - people who want a clearer idea of their own personalities. Another 10% list their primary reason for being on the site as getting guessed by other people! Put another way, a huge amount of you are here because you want to know how other people are seeing you. Well, you're in luck, because a very recent new study explains exactly how to figure out how other people perceive you!
The awesomely-titled study How To Seem Telepathic: Enabling Mind-Reading by Matching Construal by Nicholas Epley and Tal Eyal of Ben-Gurion University in Israel gives an amazing account of one experiment that shows two different strategies for changing perspective. Participants in the study tried to judge their level of attractiveness to another person. The researchers split their participants into two groups: one adopted the standard tactic of putting themselves in the other person's shoes, while the other group was asked to imagine they would be rated by the other person in several months' time.
The first group - those who tried to put themselves in the other person's shoes - scored terribly in regards to accuracy. In fact, they did so poorly that there was no association between how they thought others would rate them and how they actually did rate them. They scored even worse than randomly guessing! However, the participants that thought about their future selves were significantly more accurate in guessing. They weren't spot-on, only slightly better than random guessing, but dramatically better than the first group.
Why did thinking about themselves in the future result in the second group guessing the responses so much more accurately? The researchers posit that thinking abstractly was the key to guessing the responses of others. Phrased another way, by getting out of the precise and detailed thinking about ourselves we usually do, we can better understand the way that other people think of us - and see ourselves as viewed by others.
"This experiment suggests that the fine-grained, low-level way we tend to think of ourselves hinders us from understanding how others view us," Jeremy Dean of the World of Psychology blog lucidly explains. "You would think we would be able to judge how attractive we are to others -- after all, we've all got access to mirrors -- but in reality we find it difficult. In some ways we are blinded by how much we know."
So, if you want to forsee how people will perceive you, get abstract. Think of it this way: we perceive the Earth as being a place of huge topographical differences, full of mountains and valleys, deep ocean rifts and hills. However, if it were shrunk down to the size of a billiard ball, it would actually be smoother than a billiard ball. In order to get an accurate idea of the topographic reality of the Earth, we have to get very far away - and get abstract. Your personality is exactly the same way: to get a clear idea of it, you have to get yourself outside of your normal microscopic view.
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