positive illusions

The Boston Globe’s ideas section has a summary of research looking at the intersection of psychology and social networks.  Bottom line: we read into people more what we want to see than what may actually be there, so even people who are close to us can turn out to be surprising.  Implications for what to make of social referrals are drawn.

But this tidbit toward the end struck me as pertinent as many of us are tromping around recruiting or being recruited this week:

Sandra Murray at the University of Buffalo has found that couples that maintained positive illusions about each other tended to be happier than those that didn’t.

Something similar may be at work in close friendships. And, according to Dunning, a slightly different form of social illusion may also arise. People naturally seek out those they see as most like them, and a falsely inflated sense of similarity may only further cement friendships.

In other words, one of the nicest things a friend can do is let us misunderstand them just a little.

Written by seansafford

August 10, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Posted in uncategorized

One Response

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  1. What do you think is the difference between a “positive ilusion” and a “delusion”? Is the latter more general? Less beneficial?



    August 14, 2009 at 1:02 pm

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