305 Positive Perceptions of Others

In a study done by Wood, Dustin., Harms, Peter. D., & Vazire, Simine (2010) written by Bethany Wellman, M.S. 

The perceiver effect refers to how an individual tends to describe other people in a population.

Psychologists examined the extent to which the perceptions of others impact one’s own happiness and emotional stability. They studied 160 college students’ ratings of positive and negative characteristics of three people they knew, as well as their own personality characteristics. Participants also completed depression and narcissism measures.

Results? Researchers found that being positive towards others is associated with participants’ rating themselves, and others’ rating them, positively: enthusiastic, happy, kind-hearted, courteous, emotionally stable and capable. How positively participants see others was an indicator of their own life satisfaction, and how much others liked them. Those who perceived others negatively exhibited narcissism and antisocial behavior. The psychologists repeated the study after twelve months and found that how positively people perceive others is a stable trait, unlikely to change across time.

Your perceptions of others reveal much about your own personality. Look for the positives in others and it may lead to a more positive view of yourself.


Wood, D., Harms, P. D., & Vazire, S. (2010). Perceiver Effects as Projective Tests: What Your Perceptions of Others Say about You. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology99(1), 174-190. 

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