Misjudging our Influence on Others: Blind Spots in Perceptions of Peer Use of Advice

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Date

2015

Authors

Rader, Christina Ann

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Larrick, Richard P

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Abstract

People give each other advice on a variety of topics throughout their lifetimes. In this dissertation, I ask: Do advisors accurately perceive the impact of their advice? Or, do they possess blind spots that prevent them from doing so? I focus on whether advisors recognize the information they need in order to form judgments of the impact of their advice, which I call "impact judgments". Four studies demonstrate that advisors have blind spots in their perceptions of their influence and that these blind spots have consequences for advisors' accuracy and subsequent behavioral intentions. First, a free-recall task (Study 1) and a manipulated scenario task (Study 2) showed that advisors failed to recognize when they were missing information needed to form accurate impact judgments, namely, information on the advisee's initial, pre-advice opinion, unless they were prompted to think about why they need that information. Second, an experiment where participants were assigned the role of advisor or advisee (Study 3) demonstrated that advisors' impact judgments were less accurate when advisors did not know the advisee's initial, pre-advice opinion. Third, participants' recollections of a time they gave advice (Study 4) showed that advisors relied on their impact judgments for forming downstream behavioral intentions such as willingness to give advice again, even when they recognized that they were lacking needed information. I conclude with a discussion of the implications for advice giving by individuals and members of organizations, a general framework for impact judgments, and areas for future research.

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Rader, Christina Ann (2015). Misjudging our Influence on Others: Blind Spots in Perceptions of Peer Use of Advice. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/9819.

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