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Error Management Theory

Definition

One of the great challenges for humans is figuring out what is going on in other people's minds. People don't always disclose exactly what they are thinking, they can behave in very ambiguous ways, and sometimes they can be downright deceptive. For example, when a woman smiles at a man, is she sexually interested in him or just being nice?

Sometimes the errors people make in judging others are systematic, meaning that they tend to be biased in one direction or another. For example, judgments might be systematically biased toward a false positive error or a false negative error. In judging others, you would make a false positive error if you believed that a person had a particular thought or intention when the person actually did ...

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