Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Do you really know yourself?

Why does it so often seem that your spouse, mother or friend seem to know you better than you know yourself? In hindsight do you feel that your parents really did know what was right for you? Well recent psychological research indicates they just might know some things about you better than you do.

Simine Vazire, a PhD at Washington University in St. Louis recently illustrated that individual are more accurate in assessing one’s own internal traits, such as anxiety, while friends, spouses and parents are better gauges of intellect-related traits, such as intelligence and creativity. He even found that strangers are equally adept as our friends and ourselves at spotting the extrovert in us all, a psychology domain known as “extroversion.”

We may not be the best experts of our own behavior as researchers originally thought.
Vazire says, “Personality is not who you think you are, it’s who you are. Some people think by definition that we are the experts on our personality because we get to write the story, but personality is not the story – it’s the reality. So, you do get to write your own story about how you think you are, and what you tell people about yourself, but there still is reality out there, and, guess what? Other people are going to see the reality, regardless of what story you believe.”

Vazire’s results could have drastic implications for self report assessments used for selection, development and promotion. To date many of the assessments used in assessment centers ask individuals to rate how they believe they would perform on a task, behave in a given situation or perferr to act at a party/meeting/conference. Although psychologists are well aware of the issues of self-report measures Vazire’s study makes a case for other rated assessments and possibly the increases use of 360 degree surveys that can illustrate the differences between self and other perceptions.

Vazire’s study is published in the February 2010 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

For more information on this study click here.

1 comment:

Dawn said...

This is a great thought!! Because isn't it true that a lot of us pride ourselves in being able to read people well? Even people we hardly know. It's like a game. But where is the fun in reading ourselves? Ha. Every so often I get a glimpse of how I must come off to others. Nobody enjoys analyzing themselves! Of course it would be more productive than analyzing others.