I often say, or hear people say in conversation "I think you think [a thing]"

This feels rather cumbersome to say, and whenever I hear it I always have to really consider what was just said. It seems like such a common idea that a single word should exist for it. Does anyone know of such a word?

  • 1
    You can avoid the repeated 'think' by say 'I'm guessing you think ...'. Apr 18 '17 at 21:58
  • Or, possibly "I surmise you think....." or, "it seems like you think..." Look up "surmise to see if it fits your meaning.
    – ab2
    Apr 18 '17 at 22:04
  • Standpoint or perspective. "From your standpoint, you think everything should be free." "Your perspective on the world is different than mine." or maybe even outlook. "Your outlook is that nothing is going to work."
    – sthede
    Apr 18 '17 at 22:50
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    I particularly like your answer, @ab2 though I surmise it would make one sound somewhat more pompous than the answer Edwin Ashworth gave, but these both sound correct Apr 18 '17 at 22:59
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    @aaa90210, it could be either: "I [word] money is good" or "[word] money is good", where [word] means 'think you think' or 'I think you think' respectively Apr 18 '17 at 23:15

This is multiple level thinking, which is a term common in the world of poker.

From https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/assaadmouawad.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/multiple-level-psychology/amp/

Multiple level thinking is a term commonly associated with deepstack poker which refers to a players ability to analyse their opponents actions aswell as their own and think on a number of different levels in order to establish a range of poker hands your opponent could be holding and a range of reasons for their corresponding actions. The table image of you and your opponents plays a major part in how you approach the deeper levels of thinking, the poker becomes more about psychology than the mechanics of the game.

There are 5 levels to multiple level thinking:
Level 0 What do I have?
Level 1 What does my opponent have?
Level 2 What does my opponent think I have?
Level 3 What does my opponent think I think he has?
Level 4 What does my opponent think I think he thinks I have?

  • 1
    I really like this. And while I thank you for bringing this to my attention I don't think this quite addresses the prompt. Certainly this is the phenomena, but is there a word that conveys that multiple level thinking is happening? I will use this new knowledge to look and see if I can find it.
    – Yeshe
    Apr 19 '17 at 0:20

I can't think of a word that means "I think you think."

But you're talking about conversation here--spoken English where you can use intonation, facial expression, and so forth.

So in conversation, instead of a statement "I think you think money is good," you can say:

You think money is good?

You think we should get the car washed today?

Even further abbreviation is possible:

Think it's time to start dinner?

See this posting on a related issue of dropping words at the beginning of sentences. Why is the subject omitted in sentences like "Thought you'd never ask"?

  • This sounds like a useful alternative to 'I think you think', but I feel like there is a slight difference in meaning. When you drop the 'I think', it makes the statement less personal, and more object. When you start with 'I think' it is clear that it is about one's own opinion as well. Apr 20 '17 at 18:10

You can replace either (or both) think with believe.  (Of course, "I believe you believe ..." is no better.)

If you feel (another alternative to think) that "I think you think ..." is cumbersome because it's too long, I can't really help you.  But, if you object primarily to the repetition, here's another long-winded variant:

It's my understanding (or, simply, "I understand") that your position is ...

Another approach is to state the other person's thought (/belief/opinion) in a more direct way, implying that the person thinks it; e.g.,

I think you support delaying the announcement.

I believe you object to the design of the logo.

Similarly, "approve [of]", "oppose", etc.

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