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 in how these different ways of perceiving other people can be measured and used to understand 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 effects using factor analytical techniques.
- Consequences: If Pete tends to see others as more self-assured than most perceivers, will this impact the wayhe interacts with and is seen by others in 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 similarly in a competitive context? What if the context stays the same but the group changes? What if timeproceeds and group dynamics change? To study these kinds of question, I study the stability of perceiver effects in rotation designs (i.e., participants 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.