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Why do people avoid talking to strangers? A mini meta-analysis of predicted fears and actual experiences talking to a stranger

Sandstrom, Gillian M and Boothby, Erica J (2020) 'Why do people avoid talking to strangers? A mini meta-analysis of predicted fears and actual experiences talking to a stranger.' Self and Identity. ISSN 1529-8868

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Abstract

People are often reluctant to talk to strangers, despite the fact that they are happier when they do so. We investigate this apparent paradox, meta-analyzing pre-conversation predictions and post-conversation experiences across seven studies (N=2304). We examine: fears of not enjoying the conversation, not liking one’s partner, and lacking conversational skills; fears of the partner not enjoying the conversation, not liking oneself, and lacking conversational skills. We examine the relative strength of these fears, and show that the fears are related to talking behaviour. We report evidence that people’s fears are overblown. Finally, we report two interventions designed to reduce fears: conversation tips, and the experience of a pleasant conversation. Ultimately, this research shows that conversations go better than expected.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: social interaction, conversation, intervention, meta-analysis
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2020 08:12
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2020 18:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/28669

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