False Consensus & False Uniqueness
People tend to believe that their
opinions are common. False consensus
describes this phenomenon, as people believe that the consensus
opinion (or majority opinion) agrees with their own, regardless
of what their opinion is.
There is also the idea of false
uniqueness, which describes the misjudgment of one's
similarity to others. For example, people are given a choice between
two uncomfortable situations. Then they are asked how much discomfort
they expected to experience in the situation they chose. Also,
they are asked which experience they believed most people would
choose, and how much discomfort most people would experience.
Subjects responded that they believed others would choose the
same alternative they did, but that other people would not experience
as much discomfort as they would. Thus, people's responses suggest
others would have the same opinion as they did (make the same
choice), but others would not feel as much as they would (experience
as much discomfort).
Interestingly, people believe that
the ability that they are best at is not shared by many people.
However, the same people also believe that the opinion that is
the most important to them is commonly held. Thus, people seem
to be saying that they are unique and common simultaneously. Unique
in ability, and common in belief.