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How humans trim down uncertainty in social situations

Scientists propose a psychological model of three interrelated ways people reduce uncertainty in social situations Source: Brown University

A new perspective paper establishes a framework to apply rigorous mathematical models of uncertainty originally developed for non-social situations, such as whether or not to purchase a lottery ticket, to social scenarios such as determining an interviewer's opinion of an interviewee.

Humans are predicting machines, our whole lives are spent trying to figure out what is the best move to do next
  • In general, another person's motivations, desires or beliefs are hidden, so we have to figure out how to navigate through the world when we're interacting with other people without that knowledge.

  • In the paper, researchers explore the sources of social uncertainty and how people react to social uncertainty, and they propose a model of three interrelated methods people use to reduce social uncertainty.

  • The three ways people reduce social uncertainty range from automatic, almost instinctive processes to more cognitively demanding processes.


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