The tendency to evaluate others as being similar to oneself in terms of personality characteristics is frequently referred to as assumed similarity. Although there has been substantial empirical inquiry into assumed similarity effects, much remains unknown, particularly with respect to the causes of the phenomenon. Researchers have examined various potential moderators of assumed similarity, primarily featuring but not limited to trait domain and familiarity with the other person. In terms of trait domain, Honesty-Humility, Openness to Experience, and Agreeableness have shown stronger assumed similarity, leading some researchers to suggest that the connection between a trait domain and one’s personal values may be associated with these effects. In terms of familiarity with the target, conclusions have been mixed to date. To replicate, extend, and disambiguate these findings, we asked 205 undergraduates to assess a) themselves, b) a familiar other, and c) an unfamiliar other. We also asked them to rank a list of traits in terms of personal relevance. We found similar patterns of assumed similarity correlations to those most recently reported in the literature and a general trend of stronger assumed similarity correlations for familiar (versus unfamiliar) others. Regardless of familiarity, personal relevance of a trait domain did not moderate assumed similarity. Implications for competing theoretical accounts of assumed similarity are discussed.
★ Best Student Paper Award Winner
Babineau, Rebecca and Beer, Andrew
"Assumed Similarity and Valued Personality Characteristics,"
University of South Carolina Upstate Student Research Journal: Vol. 14, Article 2.
Available at: https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/uscusrj/vol14/iss1/2