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By Cathleen O’GradyMar. 1, 2021 at 3:45 p.m.
During his masters studies at the University of Oxford, Adam Mastroianni faced a fear common to many revelers: Would he find himself stuck in a polite dead end conversation?
Then Mastroianni had another thought: maybe his future interlocutor had the same concern. “What if we’re all trapped in conversations because we mistakenly think the other person wants to continue?” he says.
Now, 5 years and a scientific publication later, Mastroianni has discovered that both fears are true: most conversations don’t end when people want them to.
To get a clear picture of what people really felt when engaged in a conversation, Mastroianni – now with a PhD. psychology student at Harvard University – and his colleagues invited 252 strangers to their lab. They paired them up to chat for as long as they …
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