Author(s): Human LJ, Biesanz JC
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Abstract Do well-adjusted individuals have particularly accurate insight into what others are like or are they biased, primarily seeing their own characteristics in others? In the current studies, the authors examined how psychologically adjusted individuals tend to see new acquaintances, directly comparing their levels of distinctive accuracy (accurately perceiving others' unique characteristics), normative accuracy (perceiving others as similar to the average person), and assumed similarity (perceiving others as similar to the self). Across two interactive, round-robin studies, well-adjusted individuals, compared with less adjusted individuals, did not perceive new acquaintances' unique characteristics more accurately but did perceive new acquaintances, on average, as similar to the average person, reflecting an accurate understanding of what people generally tend to be like. Furthermore, well-adjusted individuals had a biased tendency to perceive their own unique characteristics in others. Of note, both pre-existing perceiver adjustment and target-specific liking independently predicted greater accuracy and assumed similarity in first impressions. In sum, well-adjusted individuals see through the looking glass clearly: although they erroneously see others as possessing their own unique characteristics, they accurately understand what others generally tend to be like. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved).
This article was published in J Pers Soc Psychol
and referenced in Clinical Depression