Cover image for Everyday mind reading : understanding what other people think and feel
Everyday mind reading : understanding what other people think and feel
Ickes, William John.
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Publication Information:
Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
349 pages ; 24 cm
A master of intrusiveness -- An apprenticeship -- The waiting room -- Measuring mind reading -- Getting to know you -- Where is women's intuition? -- Empaths wanted, inquire within.
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BF575.E55 I35 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Are women really better than men at reading other people's minds? Are longer-married couples better than newlyweds at anticipating their partners' thoughts and feelings? Do we all possess a dormant "sixth sense" that, if fully utilized, could allow us to intuit with great accuracy what other people are thinking? Internationally recognized psychologist William Ickes answers these and many other questions in this fascinating examination of the mind's potential for "everyday mind reading."
After developing an innovative video-based procedure for measuring the accuracy of people's empathic inferences, Ickes and his colleagues used this procedure to study different aspects of everyday mind reading in research conducted over the past 15 years. Among the issues they have explored are the validity of the belief in women's intuition, how long it takes strangers to "get to know" each other, why friendships promote mutual understanding, why twins tend to have similar thoughts and feelings, how people's frames of reference can both help and hinder their communication, and the neurological basis for our ability to empathize with others.
Ickes also extends his inquiry to broader social questions. For example, are there ways of detecting when someone has a hidden agenda? Are there circumstances in which accurately "reading" an intimate partner's thoughts and feelings actually harms, rather than helps, the relationship? How can the results of the research on everyday mind reading be applied to improve parenting skills, the effectiveness of counseling, even sales and marketing? Finally, what does the scientific evidence say about the widely debated notion of ESP?

Author Notes

William Ickes, Ph.D., is professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Arlington

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Ickes (Univ. of Texas, Arlington) provides a readable analysis of how people empathize with the thoughts and feelings of others--in other words, everyday mind reading. Basing this work on his own extensive studies on empathic accuracy, the author engages readers in his research odyssey, chronicling the pitfalls, hazards, and discoveries intrinsic to the production of scientific knowledge. What may especially interest readers is the way Ickes draws on a variety of sources, including novels, philosophy, clinical psychology, sociology, and his own experience, to derive testable hypotheses. Critical of the limits of experimental manipulation in mainstream social psychological research, Ickes studies spontaneously occurring interactions within controlled laboratory settings. Although still limited to rather standard quantitative data analysis, the research results provide interesting insights into the nature of human interaction, e.g., how women versus men and friends versus strangers fare on empathic accuracy, why people decide to make accurate or inaccurate interpersonal attributions, and whether telepathy exists. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Libraries serving students and researchers in social sciences at all levels, mental health professionals, and general readers. H. L. Minton formerly, University of Windsor

Table of Contents

Elliot Aronson
Forewordp. 9
1. A Master of Intrusivenessp. 13
2. An Apprenticeshipp. 19
3. The Waiting Roomp. 31
4. Measuring Mind Readingp. 59
5. Getting to Know Youp. 85
6. Where Is Women's Intuition?p. 119
7. Empaths Wanted, Inquire Withinp. 155
8. Framing Your Thoughtsp. 191
9. Motivated Misunderstandingp. 225
10. Who Wants to Know? Who Doesn't?p. 249
11. Perceptive Professionalsp. 271
12. The Sixth Sensep. 299
Acknowledgmentsp. 335
Indexp. 339