ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2019, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (1): 117-127.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2019.00117

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Prediction errors in helping and help-seeking: Causes and coping

WANG Yilu, XIE Xiaofei()   

  1. School of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences and Beijing Key Laboratory of Behavior and Mental Health, Peking University, Beijing 100080, China
  • Received:2018-06-05 Online:2019-01-15 Published:2018-11-23


Understanding the characteristics of social judgments in helping and help-seeking is profoundly essential to facilitate efficient and satisfactory interactions among human beings. Potential helpers and help-recipients have asymmetric perceptions in several aspects, including likelihood of seeking or receiving help, efforts invested in helping, anticipated emotions, and preferred manners in which aid is given. In consequence, they frequently mispredict how others truly think, feel and behave, which may inhibit the occurrence of cooperation and the spread of prosocial behavior. We propose that such prediction errors are inevitable under the joint influence of individual cognitive limitations and social factors. To bridge the gap between helpers and help-recipients, individuals and organizations should take its causes into account. Future research is encouraged to investigate the manifestation of prediction errors in online helping, emotional assistance, and between close others.

Key words: helping, help-seeking, social judgment, egocentrism, perspective-taking

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