How Talking to Someone on a Plane Can Change Your Life

Talking to people on planes is a hotly debated topic. Some stick with their plan to stay silent: wine, window seat, eye mask. Others open themselves up to conversation, and even end up meeting their soulmates. Bottom line? Most people have a story about meeting someone on a plane—good or bad.

“We tend to remember things that are negative, positive, very emotional, or unexpected,” says Nicholas Epley, Ph.D., a psychologist who studies social cognition at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. Epley also says positive social interactions aren’t just that—they’re often unexpected.
In his research, Epley found that we often mistakenly assume we’ll be happier sitting in silence than talking with others, and we underestimate how interested others are in talking to us. In one

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