Social Psychological Skill and Its Correlates

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In six studies (N = 1,143), we investigated social psychological skill – lay individuals’ skill at predicting social psychological phenomena (e.g., social loafing, attribution effects). Studies 1 and 2 demonstrated reliable individual differences in social psychological skill. In Studies 2, 3, and 4, attributes associated with decreased cognitive and motivational bias – cognitive ability, cognitive curiosity, and melancholy and introversion – predicted social psychological skill. Studies 4 and 5 confirmed that social psychological skill is distinct from other skills (e.g., test-taking skills, intuitive physics), and relates directly to reduced motivational bias (i.e., self-deception). In Study 6, social psychological skill related to appreciating the situational causes of another individual’s behavior – reduced fundamental attribution error. Theoretical and applied implications are considered.

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