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PMS, the false consensus effect and accuracy of estimation

Pedersen, A., Donaghue, N., Villani, C., Banos de Boschini, N. and Stone, K. (2006) PMS, the false consensus effect and accuracy of estimation. In: 35th Annual Meeting of the Society of Australasian Social Psychologists (SASP), 20-23 April 2006, Canberra, Australia.

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For over 70 years, PMS has been used in Western countries to explain women’s supposedly ‘irrational’ behaviour in the week preceding their menstrual bleed. However, some research sheds doubt about the universality of such a syndrome. This leads us to the influence of wider community norms in the prevalence of such a ‘disorder’. In the present research, we examined the False Consensus Effect by way of a community survey conducted in Perth, Western Australia, with 150 women as participants. After separating our sample into two groups (PMS_Yes and PMS_No) results indicated a significant False Consensus Effect. In other words, those holding a particular view about PMS believed that they had more support for their position than was believed by those holding the opposing view. We then measured the accuracy of perception using the same sample as before together with 150 men also from the Perth community. We found that PMS_Yes women were significantly less accurate than either PMS_No women or the male sample. Our research indicates the power of social mores with respect to a ‘syndrome’ believed to be biological in nature.

Publication Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology
Publisher: The Australian Psychological Association
Copyright: The Authors
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