MindCORE Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Pennsylvania
Personality Evaluated: What Do Other People Really Think of You?
What do other people really think of you? In this talk, I highlight the unique perspective that other people have on the most consequential aspects of our personalities—how we treat others, our best and worst qualities, and our moral character. First, I compare how people thought they behaved with how they actually behaved in everyday life (based on observer ratings of unobtrusive audio recordings; 217 people, 2,519 observations). I show that when people think they are being kind (vs. rude), others do not necessarily agree. This suggests that people may have blind spots about how well they are treating others in the moment. Next, I compare what 463 people thought their own best and worst traits were with what their friends thought about them. The results reveal that friends are more likely to point out flaws in the prosocial and moral domains (e.g., “inconsiderate”, “selfish”, “manipulative”) than are people themselves. Does this imply that others might want us to be more moral? To find out, I compare what targets (N = 800) want to change about their own personalities with what their close others (N = 958) want to change about them. The results show that people don’t particularly want to be more moral, and their close others don’t want them to be more moral, either. I conclude with future directions on honest feedback as a pathway to self-insight and, ultimately, self-improvement.
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