We wrongly think world likes what we like: study

April 22nd, 2008 - 7:49 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, April 22 (IANS) People have the tendency to presume the whole world likes what they like. But when it comes to things they dislike, they don’t generalise the same way. For example, people are shocked when a cherished product is discontinued for lack of sale or the favourite confectionary offered by them is not eaten, according to a study.

“The things we like are seen to contain primarily good characteristics, while things we dislike are seen to contain a mix of bad, neutral, or good characteristics,” the study said.

“The degree of false consensus depends on whether a person likes or dislikes an item,” explain Andrew D. Gershoff (University of Michigan), Ashesh Mukherjee (McGill University) and Anirban Mukhopadhyay (University of Michigan).

Participants in the study were asked to choose a movie they like and guess what percentage of their peers liked it as well.

On an average, people estimated that 51.2 percent of other people also liked the movie, an overestimate. They also estimated that only 18.2 percent of people, on an average, disliked it - a reflection of the belief that more people agree with us than disagree.

Conversely, when asked to choose a movie they dislike and make the same estimate, participants were less self-centred: they thought people would agree and disagree with their opinion in roughly the same numbers.

“This difference leads us to make more exaggerated predictions that people like the same things we do, compared to predictions that people will dislike the same things that we dislike,” the researchers add.

Another study of ice cream sundaes found that those who liked a certain combination, say, mint ice cream with walnuts and hot fudge, overestimated that people would share their fondness for the sundae by 9.9 percent. Those who disliked it only overestimated that people would share their repulsion by 0.8 percent.

These findings will appear in the June issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.

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