New research shows that when most people communicate via e-mail, they’re not thinking about how the other person will process the informa-tion, but are communicating egocentrically.
According to the article, “Think your e-mails are clear? Maybe not,” by Joh-nathan Silverstein on the ABC News website, egocentric means that people are approaching an e-mail purely from their own viewpoint, and not that of the recipient.

Justin Kruger, an associate professor at NYU and Nicholas Eply, an associ-ate professor at the University of Chicago, are the authors of a paper on the subject recently published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychol-ogy that says people are not as good at expressing themselves and their emotions via e-mail as they think they are. The world of e-mail communica-tions is chock full of horror stories of misunderstandings and miscommuni-cations. According to Kruger, it’s hard for most people to get beyond their own perspectives and realize how impoverished our communications can be for the recipient.

So, the next time you send an e-mail, take a moment to stop and think about how it might come across to the other person.
Additionally, when you receive a harsh-sounding e-mail, don’t jump to the conclusion that the sender is angry or being hurtful. They might just have an “egocentric” style of communication!