Research Archive

Mind-reading in strategic interaction: The impact of perceived similarity on projection and stereotyping

Publication type: Journal article

Research Archive Topic: Leadership, Organizations


In social dilemmas, negotiations, and other forms of strategic interaction, mind-reading — intuiting another party's preferences and intentions — has an important impact on an actor's own behavior. In this paper, we present a model of how perceivers shift between social projection (using one's own mental states to intuit a counterpart's mental states) and stereotyping (using general assumptions about a group to intuit a counterpart's mental states). Study 1 extends prior work on perceptual dilemmas in arms races, examining Americans' perceptions of Chinese attitudes toward military escalation. Study 2 adapts a prisoner's dilemma, pairing participants with outgroup targets. Study 3 employs an ultimatum game, asking male and female participants to make judgments about opposite sex partners. Study 4 manipulates perceived similarity as well as counterpart stereotype in a principal-agent context. Across the studies, we find evidence for our central prediction: higher levels of perceived similarity are associated with increased projection and reduced stereotyping.
View Ideas at Work: Feature


Ames, Daniel, Elke Weber, and Xi Zou. "Mind-reading in strategic interaction: The impact of perceived similarity on projection and stereotyping." Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 117, no. 1 (January 2012): 96-110.

Each author name for a Columbia Business School faculty member is linked to a faculty research page, which lists additional publications by that faculty member.

Each topic is linked to an index of publications on that topic.