• Research Interests

    Individual Judgment Tendencies in Person Perception

    Broadly speaking, I am studying how people can have idiosyncratic ways of perceiving others. Some people tend to see others overly positively while others see them very negatively. Some people pay special attention to others' dependableness while others are particularly focused on others' dominance. Some tend to see others as being quite similar while others perceive everyone as being very different from everyone else. In my research, I am interested on how these different ways of perceiving other people can be measured and used to unterstand personality and social relationships.

    • Measurement: If a perceiver, say Pete, has a very high opinion of a target, say Tina, this can be due to three distinct sources: Pete's Perceiver Effect (he has a high opinion of almost everyone), Tina's Target Effect (almost everyone has a high opinion of Tina), or their Relationship Effect (the "right chemistry" between the two). In my research, I apply David Kenny's Social Relations Model to disentangle these three sources. In particular, I use different study designs that allow for an application of the model and investigate how this influences the substantive interpretation of the Perceiver Effect.
    • Structure: If Pete tends to perceive others as more self-disciplined and dependable than most perceivers, is he also more likely to see them as more sociable, warm, and self-assured? To answer this kind of question, I study the structure of perceiver effect using factor analytical techniques.
    • Consequences: If Pete tends to see others as more self-assured than most perceivers, will this impact the way he interacts with and is seen by other social groups? If he tends to see others as more affectionate than most perceivers, will this impact his readiness to cooperate with others? To answer this kind of question, I use perceiver effects to predict behavior in economic decision-making games.
    • Stability: If Pete sees others in certain ways in an affiliative context, does he see others similary in a competitive context? What if the context stays the same but the group changes? What if time proceeds and group dynamic change? To study these kinds of question, I study the stability of perceiver effects in rotation designs (i.e., paricipants interact with several groups in several contexts) using structural equation modelling.
    • Variability: Pete and Paul may have similar ways or perceiving others in terms of their average impressions but Pete may see others as pretty differently from each other while Paul sees everyone quite similarly. Are such differences in variability stable characteristics of Pete and Paul? Are they predictive of important outcomes? To answer these kinds of questions, I analyze data coming from various group interaction- and video rating studies.
    • Influences of Different Formats and Response Tendencies: If Pete were to have certain idiosyncratic tendencies when describing others in an open conversation, would these tendencies also be mirrored in ratings on a set of scales? How would response tendencies play out? To answer this kind of question, I study person perception processes using Multi-Trait-Multi-Method assessments.

  • Publications

    Journal articles (peer-reviewed)

    Garbe, L., Rau, R., & Toppe, T. (2020). Influence of perceived threat of Covid-19 and HEXACO personality traits on toilet paper stockpiling. PloS One, 15(6) pdf DOI

    Rau, R., Carlson, E. N., Back, M. D., Barranti, M., Gebauer, J. E., Human, L. J., Leising, D., & Nestler, S. (in press). What is the structure of perceiver effects? On the importance of global positivity and trait-specificity across personality domains and judgment contexts. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. pdf  osf

    Rau, R., Nestler, W., Dufner, M., & Nestler, S. (in press). Seeing the best or worst in others: A measure of generalized other-perceptions. Assessment. osf

    Rau, R., Thielmann, I., Breil, S. M., Geukes, K., Krause, S., Nikoleizig, L., . . . Nestler, S. (2020). Do Perceiver Effects in Interpersonal Perception Predict Cooperation in Social Dilemmas? Collabra: Psychology, 6(1), 35 pdf

    Rau, R., Nestler, S., Geukes, K., Back, M. D., & Dufner, M. (2019). Can other-derogation be beneficial? Seeing others as low in agency can lead to an agentic reputation in newly formed face-to-face groups. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 117, 201-227. DOI  osf  pdf

  • Funding

    10/2016 - 09/2018

    "Psychometric Characteristics and Interpersonal Consequences of Individual Tendencies in Personality Judgments" (funded by University of Leipzig); 60,600 € 

    03/2017 - 04/2017

    Visiting scholarship for a two-month stay at University of Toronto, Canada as a guest of assistant professor Dr. Erika Carlson (funded by the German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD); 3,954 €