Psychology

Reading minds across the ocean

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Science  18 Dec 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6267, pp. 1488-1489
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6267.1488-f

Natives of different cultures often have trouble figuring out what the other believes—a sought-after experience for the traveler visiting faraway lands, yet a hindrance for the immigrant adjusting to her new environment. Perez-Zapata et al. identify a high-level contributory factor by presenting social and cognitive scenarios to Australians (in English) and to Chileans (in Spanish). The cognitive scenarios depicting activities involving either Australians or Chileans were understood equally well by natives of both countries. In contrast, Australians more accurately inferred what one Australian believed about another Australian in comparison to a conversation between two Chileans; likewise, Chileans found it easier to read the minds of other Chileans.

Cognition 146, 410 (2016).

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