Should I choose a 'shallow theme' or a 'deep theme' when talking to someone I meet for the first time?

When talking to someone for the first time, it's easy to think about 'what topic to choose' and 'isn't it annoying to talk about a deep theme?' A large-scale experiment on conversations with people who met for the first time was conducted by an American research team, and interesting facts about the content of the conversation and the impression of the conversation partner were revealed.

Overly Shallow ?: Miscalibrated Expectations Create a Barrier to Deeper Conversation
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Getting beyond small talk: Study finds people enjoy deep conversations with strangers

A research team led by Professor Nicholas Epley, a behavioral science professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business , conducted multiple experiments involving more than 1800 subjects in conversation with first-time people.

First, the research team said, 'Which of the best TV shows you've seen recently?' 'What do you think about the weather today?' Or 'I cried in front of others.' Give each pair of subjects one of the deeper conversational themes, such as 'Please explain what happened' or 'What would you like to know if you got a crystal ball that gives you an accurate picture of your life and future?' We asked for pre-conversation predictions and post-conversation evaluations regarding confirmation items such as 'how troublesome the conversation is,' 'how much relationship can be established with the conversation partner,' and 'how much you can enjoy the conversation.'

As a result of the experiment, it became clear that both the shallow theme and the deep theme were able to build a deeper relationship with the conversation partner than the subject expected, and enjoyed the conversation. It was also found that in pairs who talked about deep themes, the post-conversation evaluations tended to exceed the pre-conversation expectations. In addition, in another experiment in which subjects were asked to talk about shallow and deep themes with different partners, many of the subjects expected that shallow themes would have a better relationship before the conversation, but after the conversation they had deep themes. I evaluated that I was able to build a better relationship.

From the above experimental results, the research team hypothesized that people underestimate 'how interested people are about their thoughts and feelings', and how interested the conversation partner is in the conversation. We conducted an experiment to predict and evaluate whether or not you have. As a result, it became clear that the subjects underestimated the degree of interest of the conversation partner. Professor Eprey said, 'People seemed to imagine that if they revealed something important about themselves in the conversation, they would have a conversation, but it was clear that they were wrong when they actually spoke. 'When you share something meaningful and important in a conversation, the person you're talking to can share something important and meaningful in return, leading to a pretty good conversation.' I have.

Finally, the research team envisions subjects talking to 'people who are interested in conversation' or 'people who are not interested in conversation' in order to clarify the relationship between the impression of the conversation partner and the growing interest in conversation. After that, we conducted an experiment to select a conversation theme. As a result, it was confirmed that the subjects who imagined the conversation with 'people who are interested in conversation' tended to select a deeper theme than the subjects who imagined to talk with 'people who are not interested in conversation'.

Based on the results of a series of experiments, Professor Eprey said, 'Themes that people talk to tend to be adjusted so that they do not deepen their relationships with others. When the pandemic of the new coronavirus infection subsides, there are more opportunities to talk with others. At that time, knowing the fact that 'some people like conversations on deep themes' may lead to more enjoyable interaction. '

in Science, Posted by log1o_hf