How well do your friends know you?

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About as well as you know yourself:

Many people assume that they know themselves better than anyone else knows them. Recent research on inaccuracies in self-perception, however, suggests that self-knowledge may be more limited than people typically assume. In this article, the authors examine the possibility that people may know a person as well as (or better than) that person knows himself or herself. In Study 1, the authors document the strength of laypeople’s beliefs that the self is the best expert. In Study 2, the authors provide a direct test of self- and other-accuracy using an objective and representative behavioral criterion. To do this, the authors compared self- and other-ratings of daily behavior to real-life measures of act frequencies assessed unobtrusively over 4 days. Our results show that close others are as accurate as the self in predicting daily behavior. Furthermore, accuracy varies across behaviors for both the self and for others, and the two perspectives often independently predict behavior. These findings suggest that there is no single perspective from which a person is known best and that both the self and others possess unique insight into how a person typically behaves.

Source: “Knowing me, knowing you: The accuracy and unique predictive validity of self-ratings and other-ratings of daily behavior.” from Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

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