Health News– Study found that deep conversation with strangers benefits people and helps them to make connections with others. But people often get involved in small talks with strangers as they underestimate how much others are interested to know about their lives and believe that deep conversation can be more awkward and less enjoyable.
In a new study, researchers at the American Psychological Association (APA) conducted twelve experiments with more than 1800 participants. They asked pairs of participants (mainly
strangers) to discuss relatively deep or shallow topics. The shallow topics involve small-talk questions while the deep topics consist of more personal and intimate topics. The participants were asked to generate their own deep and shallow conversation topics in another experiment.
Before the experiment, they also anticipated how awkward and less enjoyable they thought their conversation would be with strangers and how connected they thought they would feel for their individual conversation partners. After their conversation, they were asked to rate their overall experience.
The study findings showed that both deep and shallow conversations were felt less awkward and more enjoyable by the participants and they also felt a greater sense of connection with their conversation partners. Additionally, all the effects were more likely to be stronger specifically for deep conversations. After observing the experiment outcome, the researchers also suggested that people hesitate to have deep conversations with strangers more often because they underestimate how interested others are in knowing about their thoughts and feelings.
In the final experiment, the researchers studied if having more accurate expectations about a conversation partner tends to increase participants’ interest in having deeper conversations with strangers. As per the research result, participants who expected their conversation partner to be caring chose to have deeper discussions than those who expected to communicate with an uncaring person.
“People seemed to imagine that revealing something meaningful or important about themselves in conversation would be met with blank stares and silence, only to find this wasn’t true in the actual conversation,” said Nicholas Epley, co-author of the study. According to him, human beings are social enough to reciprocate in conversation. That’s why, when a person shares something meaningful, he/she is likely to receive something meaningful in return that eventually leads to a better conversation.
As the pandemic is gradually waning and people are getting back to communicating with others again, being aware of the fact that others also like meaningful conversations may lead one to have more pleasant interactions, Epley later mentioned.
To Know More You May Refer To:
Kardas, M., Kumar, A., & Epley, N. (2021). Overly shallow?: Miscalibrated expectations create a barrier to deeper conversation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspa0000281