On seeing ourselves as others see us: Self-other agreement and discrepancy in personality ratings


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    This research was supported, in part, by a fellowship from the National Science Foundation. Jack Block, Lewis Goldberg, Douglas Kenrick, Michael Ross, Drury Sherrod, J. S. Shrauger, and an anonymous reviewer all made helpful comments on earlier drafts of the report, but none of them should be held responsible for its content. Address correspondence and reprint requests to: David C. Funder, Kingston Hall, Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, California 91711.


Subjects' descriptions of their own personalities were found to correlate quite well with descriptions contributed by their peers, especially on traits high in social desirability. As would be predicted from attribution research, subjects tend to rate themselves higher than do their peers on traits pertaining to inner states (e.g., “is introspective”), while peers tend to rate them higher on traits pertaining to behaviors especially salient to an external observer (e.g., “is personally charming”). But in general, self and peer ratings exhibit a considerable degree of covariance. It is concluded that self and peer trait attributions, since they tend to agree, must inevitably have an important impact on a person's life, and therefore are important to the understanding of personality.