Naïve realism (psychology)

Naïve realism (psychology)

Naive realism is the belief that we see reality as it really is (objectively and without bias); that the facts are plain for all to see; that rational people will agree with us; and that those who don't are either uninformed, lazy, irrational, or biased. It is the theoretical basis for several social cognitive biases proposed by Lee Ross and Andrew Ward.[1] It has also been studied by Emily Pronin, Thomas Gilovich, and Dale Griffin.

The three "tenets" of naive realism are:

  1. That I see entities and events as they are in objective reality, and that my social attitudes, beliefs, preferences, priorities, and the like follow from a relatively dispassionate, unbiased and essentially "unmediated" comprehension of the information or evidence at hand.
  2. That other rational social perceivers generally will share my reactions, behaviors, and opinions—provided they have had access to the same information that gave rise to my views, and provided that they too have processed that information in a reasonably thoughtful and open-minded fashion.
  3. That the failure of a given individual or group to share my views arises from one of three possible sources—
  4. the individual or group in question may have been exposed to a different sample of information than I was (in which case, provided that the other party is reasonable and open minded, the sharing or pooling of information should lead us to reach an agreement);
  5. the individual or group in question may be lazy, irrational, or otherwise unable or unwilling to proceed in a normative fashion from objective evidence to reasonable conclusions; or
  6. the individual or group in question may be biased (either in interpreting the evidence, or in proceeding from evidence to conclusions) by ideology, self-interest, or some other distorting personal influence.[2]

Biases including the following have been argued to be caused at least partially by naive realism:

See also


  1. ^ Ross & Ward, 1996
  2. ^ Ross & Ward (1996) pp. 110-111


  • Ross, L., & Ward, A. (1996). Naive realism in everyday life: Implications for social conflict and misunderstanding. In T. Brown, E. S. Reed & E. Turiel (Eds.), Values and knowledge (pp. 103–135). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Griffin, D., & Ross, L. (1991). Subjective construal, social inference, and human misunderstanding. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (pp. 319–359). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
  • Pronin, E., Puccio, C. T., & Ross, L. (2002). Understanding misunderstanding: Social psychological perspectives. In T. Gilovich, D. Griffin & D. Kahneman (Eds.), Heuristics and biases: The psychology of intuitive judgment. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.