How do others see you differently than you see yourself?

Consensus studies from 4 cultures-in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, and Germany-as well as secondary analyses of self- and observer-reported Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PI-R) data from 29 cultures suggest that there is a cross-culturally replicable pattern of difference between internal and external perspectives for the Big Five personality traits. People see themselves as more neurotic and open to experience compared to how they are seen by other people. External observers generally hold a higher opinion of an individual’s conscientiousness than he or she does about him- or herself. As a rule, people think that they have more positive emotions and excitement seeking but much less assertiveness than it seems from the vantage point of an external observer. This cross-culturally replicable disparity between internal and external perspectives was not consistent with predictions based on the actor-observer hypothesis because the size of the disparity was unrelated to the visibility of personality traits. A relatively strong negative correlation (r = -.53) between the average self-minus-observer profile and social desirability ratings suggests that people in most studied cultures view themselves less favorably than they are perceived by others.

Source: “How people see others is different from how people see themselves: A replicable pattern across cultures.” from J Pers Soc Psychol. 2010 Nov;99(5):870-82

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