Assumptions lead to miscommunication

February 23, 2007

Some of people's biggest problems with communication come in sharing new information with people they know well, U.S. researchers said.

People often use short, ambiguous messages when talking to colleagues or spouses, unintentionally creating misunderstandings, said University of Chicago Psychology Professor Boaz Keysar.

"People are so used to talking with those with whom they already share a great deal of information, that when they have something really new to share, they often present it in away that assumes the person already knows it," Keysar said.

Making assumptions about what another person knows can have many consequences, Keysar said.

Doctors, for example, often communicate quickly and may not realize the physicians they're speaking to are getting new information, he said.

Brief e-mails between co-workers can also cause confusion, something Keysar said he learned first-hand.

"I once was scheduled to speak and had gotten the day of my talk mixed up. I received an e-mail from the host asking me if I was OK. I wrote back and said I was and didn't find out until later that what he really wanted to know was where I was, as they were waiting for me to talk," Keysar said.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Using a foreign language changes moral decisions

Related Stories

Using a foreign language changes moral decisions

April 28, 2014
Would you sacrifice one person to save five? Such moral choices could depend on whether you are using a foreign language or your native tongue. A new study from psychologists at the University of Chicago and Pompeu Fabra ...

Recommended for you

Suicidal thoughts rapidly reduced with ketamine, finds study

December 14, 2017
Ketamine was significantly more effective than a commonly used sedative in reducing suicidal thoughts in depressed patients, according to researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). They also found that ketamine's ...

Do bullies have more sex?

December 14, 2017
Adolescents who are willing to exploit others for personal gain are more likely to bully and have sex than those who score higher on a measure of honesty and humility. This is according to a study in Springer's journal Evolutionary ...

Children's screen-time guidelines too restrictive, according to new research

December 14, 2017
Digital screen use is a staple of contemporary life for adults and children, whether they are browsing on laptops and smartphones, or watching TV. Paediatricians and scientists have long expressed concerns about the impact ...

The iceberg model of self-harm

December 14, 2017
Researchers have created a model of self-harm that shows high levels of the problem in the community, especially in young girls, and the need for school-based prevention measures.

Eating together as a family helps children feel better, physically and mentally

December 14, 2017
Children who routinely eat their meals together with their family are more likely to experience long-term physical and mental health benefits, a new Canadian study shows.

Anti-stress compound reduces obesity and diabetes

December 13, 2017
For the first time, scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich could prove that a stress protein found in muscle has a diabetes promoting effect. This finding could pave the way to a completely new treatment ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.