Speaker overestimation of communication effectiveness and fear of negative evaluation: Being realistic is unrealistic

Nicolas Fay, Andrew Page, Crystal Serfaty, H.W. Tai, Christopher Winkler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
420 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Speakers systematically overestimate their communication effectiveness (Keysar & Henly, 2002). We argue that doing so is adaptive, reducing the risk of social anxiety and withdrawal from social situations. This hypothesis was tested by having speakers who scored low and high for fear of negative evaluation (FNE), a hallmark of social phobia, attempt to convey a specific meaning of ambiguous statements to a listener and then estimate their communication effectiveness. Low-FNE speakers consistently overestimated their effectiveness, expecting the listener to understand their intended meaning more often than listeners actually did. In contrast, high-FNE speakers’ estimates of communication effectiveness were consistent with the listener’s actual understanding. Signal detection analysis revealed that low- and high-FNE speakers were equally able to discriminate communication success from failure, but low-FNE speakers exhibited a stronger positive response bias. In conclusion, overestimating one’s communication effectiveness is adaptive, and accurate estimation is associated with dysfunction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1160-1165
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin & Review
Volume15
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Speaker overestimation of communication effectiveness and fear of negative evaluation: Being realistic is unrealistic'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this