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Understanding Others' Goals Depends on the Efficiency and Timing of Goal Pursuit

Sat, May 23, 9:00 to 10:15, Caribe Hilton, Conference Room 6


Goal understanding is the processes by which interactants make inferences about others' objectives during conversation. Previous research has examined goal understanding without concern for the timing of goal pursuit. Accordingly, an experiment examined the timing of pursuers' efficiency in the language employed to reach their goal. Results indicated that timing modified detectors' accuracy and certainty in their goal inferences. Specifically, efficiency was positively correlated with accuracy for the initial minute of a five-minute interaction but not subsequent minutes. Further, efficiency and certainty were correlated in the third minute of an interaction but only when the detector had ample cognitive resources to make use of pursuers' efficient language. These and other findings added to the framework on goal understanding in social interaction.