Intraindividual consistency in personality assessment: The effect of self-monitoring


1.This research was conducted while the author was at Colgate University, Hamilton, New York. Requests for reprints should be sent to Gil Tunnell, Department of Psychology, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts 01063.


Low and high scoring individuals on Snyder's Self-Monitoring (SM) Scale were compared for differences in (a) variability in personality descriptions provided by 10 acquaintances, and (b) discrepancies between their self-ratings and the averaged acquaintance ratings. Each subject was rated by 10 different persons (e.g., parent, sibling, roommate, teacher), and the standard deviations of their ratings on each subject for 14 personality dimensions served as dependent measures. Contrary to the first hypothesis, no differences in the variability of acquaintance ratings were observed between SM groups. The second hypothesis received substantial empirical support. High SM subjects showed a significantly larger discrepancy between self-ratings and the mean acquaintance ratings, primarily because they rated themselves more highly on traits than their acquaintances did. High self-monitors also showed less similarity in the shape of the two personality profiles generated by self- and acquaintance ratings across the 14 traits. The discrepancies observed in high SM subjects between self-ratings and the averaged acquaintance ratings (the latter considered to be more objective) extends the finding of Snyder and Tanke (1976) that high SM subjects showed less congruence between self-reported attitudes and behavior. It is suggested that high SM individuals are particularly high on evaluation apprehension and that in both studies they acted in ways which they believed would enhance their self-presentations.