As we age, we become less sensitive to others’ perspectives. In turn, we may end up sharing more than is necessary— information that could be revealing or, in extreme cases, put ourselves or others at risk.
Consider a scenario where you are given private information.
Your neighbour tells you they're going to hide a set of keys to their house under the big rock by the tree in their backyard. They're letting you know this so you have access to the house in case of an emergency when they're out of town.
Clearly, this is information that should not be shared with others. However, one day, at a social gathering, people are discussing upcoming vacation plans and the subject of housesitting and keys are brought up. You mention that your neighbour puts their keys under a big rock by the tree in the backyard, which you think is a good idea.
While this may seem relevant to you and the conversation you're having, you didn't consider that other people could use that information for nefarious purposes. Sure enough, a week later, the neighbour’s house is broken into and valuable goods are stolen.
Why do we make these mistakes?
Let’s imagine a typical conversation— we exchange information with a partner based on what we believe their prior knowledge to be, including what they do/don’t know and should/shouldn’t know.
How do our brains juggle this? It seems plausible that when we consider our partner’s perspective we must inhibit our own, and that over the course of a conversation we switch back and forth from our perspective to our partner’s, updating information along the way.