By asking someone what they think of a person they know, you can learn a lot about their personality from the answer they choose.
We meet people every day. Some come and go, others stay. And from those that stay, there are often some very bad apples that we wish we hadn’t met in the first place.
It would be good to know what kind of person we’re dealing with before we get into something more serious, right?
While definitely not all of us have the gift of reading people’s personality like psychologists can, and it would be pretty awkward to send your potential partner an online ‘narcissism test’ and ask for the results, there is a trick that doesn’t require a lot of strain on your behalf.
Spiritualists will tell you that the perception we have of reality is, in fact, a mirror of our own reality. And now, psychologists agree. A study led by Dustin Wood, assistant professor of psychology at Wake Forest University, analyzed how a person’s perceptions of others reveal their own personality.
By asking the participants to say what they think of several of their acquaintances, the research team discovered that instead of revealing much about their acquaintances, by answering this question, the participants revealed a lot about their own personality.
The truth is, we all possess a plethora of different characteristics, both good and bad, which means that whatever you are ready to spot in someone else will most probably be already there.
Which is more, a great deal of our personality is subject to the interpretation of others, which makes interpretation irrelevant in many cases. But this interpretation is important if you want to see what the interpreter is ready to perceive.
If you are more acquainted with positive traits (because you clearly possess them), then you will be readier to perceive those same traits in those around you. And the same goes for negative traits.
The study found that the participants who described their acquaintances as being positive, happy, courteous, kind-hearted, emotionally stable, and capable, were themselves like this.
On the opposite side, the study found that the negative perceptions of others hinted to higher levels of narcissism, Machiavellianism, paranoia, and antisocial behavior, depending on the choice of characteristics.
Those who saw others as being uninteresting or worthless exhibited traits of narcissism; the perception of someone else being untrustworthy and malevolent corresponded to a paranoid personality; and Machiavellians viewed others as insincere, selfish, and lacking integrity.
As Wood says, “the simple tendency to see people negatively indicates a greater likelihood of depression and various personality disorders.”
So, next time you are with a person you’d like to know better, ask them what they think of somebody else. By listening to their description, you can learn a lot about their own personality – a lot more than about the personality of the person being described.
Source: Science Daily