Evidence for a Community of Knowledge Across Culture

AbstractWe tested an implication of the community of knowledge hypothesis, that people fail to distinguish their own knowledge from other people’s knowledge in a collectivist society (China) as they do in individualistic societies like the United States. As predicted, despite the absence of any actual explanatory information, people rated their own understanding of novel natural and economic phenomena as higher when they were told that experts understood the phenomena than when they were told that experts did not yet understand them. This suggests that the community of knowledge effect may hold across cultures.

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