Research Archive

Pushing in the Dark: Causes and Consequences of Limited Self-Awareness for Interpersonal Assertiveness

Daniel Ames, Abbie Wazlawek

Publication type: Journal article

Research Archive Topic: Leadership

Abstract

Do people know when they are seen as pressing too hard, yielding too readily, or having the right touch? And does awareness matter? We examined these questions in four studies. Study 1 used dyadic negotiations to reveal a modest link between targets' self-views and counterparts' views of targets' assertiveness, showing that those seen as under- and over-assertive were likely to see themselves as appropriately assertive. Surprisingly, many people seen as appropriately assertive by counterparts mistakenly thought they were seen as having been over-assertive, a novel effect we call the line crossing illusion. We speculated that counterparts' orchestrated displays of discomfort might be partly responsible—behaviors we termed strategic umbrage. Study 2 revealed evidence for widespread strategic umbrage in real-world negotiations and Study 3 linked these behaviors to the line crossing illusion in a controlled negotiation. Study 4 showed that this illusion predicted outcomes in a multi-round negotiation.

Citation

Ames, Daniel, and Abbie Wazlawek. "Pushing in the Dark: Causes and Consequences of Limited Self-Awareness for Interpersonal Assertiveness." Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 40 (2014): 775-790.


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