When you want to know what someone else is thinking or feeling, the old adage to “put yourself in someone else’s shoes” typically springs to mind. From an early age, most of us are advised that we will be better able to understand other people’s thoughts and feelings if we just look at the world from their standpoint.
The reasoning behind this advice is straightforward. The most obvious way for you to make a prediction about what someone else is going to do is to judge what you would do in the same circumstance. This use of your own experience to understand other people is called an egocentric bias. Lots of work suggests that focusing yourself on someone else’s perspective reduces your tendency toward an egocentric bias.
But, does that make you more accurate at judging thoughts and feelings of other people?