Abstract Communication is a central part of social life. Successful communication requires going beyond the semantic meaning of words by being attentive to the interaction's common ground, that is, considering what actors know and believe to be mutually known about the situation. Drawing on previous literature suggesting that thoughts about money reduce social interaction whereas thoughts about time increase it, we propose that thinking about money compared to time reduces attentiveness towards the common ground. In support of this, we find that individuals who had been thinking about money compared to time were less likely to interpret two similar questions as distinct, even though asking the same question twice would be violating conversational norms (Study 1). Moreover, they were less likely to note ambiguity in a euphemistic description (Study 2), thus illustrating that lower attentiveness to the interaction's common ground can be a double-edged sword.
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