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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2011 Oct;101(4):831-46. doi: 10.1037/a0024297.

Meta-insight: do people really know how others see them?

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Department of Psychology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130-4899, USA.


Although people can accurately guess how others see them, many studies have suggested that this may only be because people generally assume that others see them as they see themselves. These findings raise the question: In their everyday lives, do people understand the distinction between how they see their own personality and how others see their personality? We examined whether people make this distinction, or whether people possess what we call meta-insight. In 3 studies, we assessed meta-insight for a broad range of traits (e.g., Big Five, intelligent, funny) across several naturalistic social contexts (e.g., first impression, friends). Our findings suggest that people can make valid distinctions between how they see themselves and how others see them. Thus, people seem to have some genuine insight into their reputation and do not achieve meta-accuracy only by capitalizing on the fact that others see them similarly to how they see themselves.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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