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Naive Cynicism

Definition

Naive cynicism is the tendency of laypeople to expect other people's judgments will have a motivational basis and therefore will be biased in the direction of their self-interest. We expect that others will see things in ways that are most flattering to them, while thinking that our own opinions and beliefs are based on objective evidence.

Context and Importance

Naive cynicism is the counterpart to naive realism, the belief on the part of laypeople that they see the world as it really is. Although we often don't believe that the judgments we make are biased, we readily recognize that others' judgments may be. Naive cynicism may even lead people to overestimate the amount of bias in other people's judgments. For example, husbands and wives are known to ...

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