Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Personality Traits as Self-Evaluated and as Judged by Others

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Personality Traits as Self-Evaluated and as Judged by Others

Article excerpt

Differences in personality traits as self-perceived and as judged by others were examined. A target sample of 80 students were photographed on slide pictures and asked to take the calm-- anxious and introvert-extrovert lists. Another sample of 193 students served as judges by watching the target slide pictures and judged them on how calm-anxious and introvert-extrovert they appeared. Results showed that target subjects perceived themselves to be calmer and more extrovert than judgments made by others who watched the target slide pictures and judged them. This indicates that individuals see their personality traits in a more favorable way than others see them in terms of anxiety and introversion judgments.

Knowing our own personalities, attitudes, and feelings is an important aspect of mental health and social adjustment. We modify our view of personal traits as we continually have evaluative experiences and social interactions, as we gain more information about ourselves, as we do in fact change.

Through the history of counseling and psychotherapy, Carl Rogers emphasized that our views of self do not always match the views others have of us. And often, there are discrepancies between self-perception and others' perceptions. (Rogers, 1961).

Therefore, in his self-centered theory, Rogers indicated that one basic goal of therapy is to help the client develop an internal locus of self-definition rather than an external locus of self-definition dependent entirely upon other people (Corey, 1982).

On a daily basis, people make formal and informal judgments about their own personality traits and the traits of others that have various impacts on them. When making such judgments, it is important to be as accurate as possible, since there are many potential sources of error and bias, and since individuals often make those judgments on the basis of limited information.

Bem (1972), in his theory of self-perception, indicates that we draw inferences about ourselves in much the same way as we do about other people. Bem's ideas stress the importance of understanding the processes of how we perceive our own personality and whether that differs from understanding others and how others understand us. The study of personality therefore requires us to look for individual differences in personality traits in order to make correct judgments about our own personalities or when judging others (Cooper & Payne, 1991).

Several variables or factors may influence our judgments about others or ourselves. Baron (1993) indicated that people who are high self-monitors are better able to influence the impressions they make on others than are low self-monitors. Also, low self-monitors are more concerned that their behaviors reflect their true feelings and values. Another factor influencing our judgments is self-esteem. Baron and Byrne (1991) observed that individuals with high self-esteem tend to be more effective in social interaction and making social judgments. Strauman and Higgins (1988) also found that high self-esteem individuals tend to report fewer negative traits or emotions than do those with low self-esteem.

Self-evaluation of our personalities is a third factor that plays a vital role in knowing who we are and how good we are. Festinger indicated over forty years ago that there is a universal human drive to evaluate our traits and abilities in order to appraise ourselves (Festinger as cited in Brown, 1988). Self-evaluation allows us to choose our jobs and, more importantly, our friends and spouses. This implies that self-evaluations of our personal traits such as anxiety and introversion help us to understand ourselves better. Self-evaluation along with others' judgments about us gives a better understanding of ourselves and allows us to determine our relationship to the rest of the world around us.

Furthermore, self-presentational theory stipulates that people express their ideas and judgments about self in ways designed to create a favorable impression that aims to avoid looking foolish or inconsistent in front of others (Baumeister, 1982). …

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