The egocentric bias, whereby we think others mostly think and act like we do

Social scientists have long recognized that most of us just naturally believe that the people around us look at the world as we do and behave as we would. We take for granted that we are normal and others travel to the beat of the our drum. This assumption academics call the egocentric bias.

Cass R. Sunstein, Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge (Oxford 2006) at 80, refers to this cognitive blinder and made me think how often it rears up in law departments. When we negotiate, we may mistakenly assume a similar set of values and desires on the other side. When we evaluate someone’s performance, the egocentric bias may obscure from us the other person’s worldview. When we talk or write, we unwittingly follow the form that suits our own style and perspective, ignorant of the other side’s.

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