5 March 2007

That Goes Without Saying

Filed under: Language, Psychology — ktismatics @ 4:20 pm

Here’s a study showing that communication gaps can result from people knowing each other too well. When we share a lot of assumptions, preconceptions, and knowledge with someone we start speaking in shorthand, assuming that the other person will fill in the gaps. But it doesn’t always work: we don’t say enough;we talk past one another; new information falls through the gaps. Sometimes it’s easier for strangers to understand you, because you don’t have any presupposions to get in the way. And sometimes it’s hardest to say something new to those who know you best, because they think they already know everything you know. [Also follow the link in the article on “messages” to a curious little study about instant messaging.]


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