Interpersonal Sensitivity: Theory and Measurement

By Judith A. Hall; Frank J. Bernieri | Go to book overview

5
Thin-Slice Judgments
as a Measure of
Interpersonal Sensitivity
Nalini Ambady
Debi LaPlante
Elizabeth Johnson
Harvard University

Smooth, successful social interactions involve sensitivity to the feelings, affect, and behavior of others as well as to the ability to transmit and communicate cues in order to elicit desired responses from others. Thus, both the ability to judge and to be judged accurately serves an adaptive function in social interaction (Ambady, Hallahan, & Rosenthal, 1995). Consistent with our own experiences and intuitive judgments, research reveals that individuals exhibit high degrees of consensual accuracy in their judgments of others (Albright, Kenny, & Malloy, 1988; Funder, 1995; Kenny, Albright, Malloy, & Kashy, 1994; Passini & Norman, 1966; Paunonen, 1991; Watson, 1989). Such judgments have been found to be surprisingly accurate in predicting targets' self-reported characteristics on the basis of quite minimal information (Albright et al., 1988; Passini & Norman, 1966; Watson, 1989). This chapter discusses the implications of the interpretation of such minimal information, or “thin slices, ” of behavior for our understanding of interpersonal sensitivity. We define the characteristics of thin slices, discuss the methodology, describe two measures using thin slices to assess interpersonal sensitivity, review the moderators of interpersonal sensitivity as judged from thin slices, and suggest potential contributions of this methodology to the study of interpersonal sensitivity.

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