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False Consensus Effect

Definition

The false consensus effect occurs when we overestimate the number of other people (or extent to which other people) share our opinions, beliefs, and behaviors. Thus, sometimes individuals tend to believe that others are more similar to them than is actually the case. For example, if I enjoy eating chocolate ice cream cones, I will tend to overestimate the percentage of other people like me who also enjoy eating chocolate ice cream cones relative to the percentage that do not.

This effect is likely to occur most often when considering opinions, beliefs, and behaviors that are important to us. Thus, consider another example: If you believe a particular favorite television program is funny, you will tend to overestimate the number of other people like you who ...

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