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Social Perception & the Actor-Observer Effect: I’m Tired, But You’re Lazy

Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being.
~ Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi’s quote — and others’ psychological research — suggest that we are designed to interact with each other. In fact, our interactions with others come second to our interaction with ourselves.

If interactions with others are so important, why do we struggle to initiate and maintain relationships?

A search on the Internet for articles on interaction/relationships reveals what appears to be innumerable research papers on verbal and nonverbal communication. However, many who highlight relationship-building skills ignore a crucial factor.

To rephrase Descartes (who famously said “I think, therefore I am”), “we think, therefore we interact” confirms that we first have some thought about the person we intend to interact with. If our cognitive processes set the tone for our interaction then highlighting errors in cognition is useful.


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