Biased Social Perceptions of Knowledge: Implications for Negotiators' Rapport and Egocentrism

  • David S. Lee
  • Scott J. Moeller
  • Shirli Kopelman
  • Oscar Ybarra


This study examines how people manage uncertain competitive social interactions. To achieve positive interaction outcomes, individuals may engage in a social perception process that leads them to believe they have obtained more information about others than these others gained about them. We investigate how asymmetric knowledge perceptions contribute to important aspects of negotiation, namely rapport building among strangers and egocentric beliefs about fairness of resource distribution. In Study 1, dyads completed measures of knowledge acquisition and partner evaluation after a rapport‐building exercise. Results showed that individuals believed they gained more information about their partner than vice versa; notably, the magnitude of this knowledge bias was associated with more positive partner evaluations. Study 2 showed that the magnitude of the knowledge bias predicted lower egocentrism in a commons dilemma task. Together, these results suggest knowledge asymmetries facilitate rapport among strangers and may have important implications for cooperation in competitive negotiation settings.

Keywords: social dilemmas, egocentrism, rapport, negotiation, knowledge asymmetries

How to Cite:

Lee, D. & Moeller, S. & Kopelman, S. & Ybarra, O., (2015) “Biased Social Perceptions of Knowledge: Implications for Negotiators' Rapport and Egocentrism”, Negotiation and Conflict Management Research 8(2), 85-99. doi:

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Published on
23 Apr 2015
Peer Reviewed