Self-peer agreement as a function of two kinds of trait relevance: Personal and social

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Richard Koestner
Frank Bernieri
Miron Zuckerman
Cite this article:  Koestner, R., Bernieri, F., & Zuckerman, M. (1994). Self-peer agreement as a function of two kinds of trait relevance: Personal and social. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 22(1), 17-30.


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We proposed a refinement of the construct of trait relevance that would allow for more accurate prediction of self-peer agreement. A distinction is offered between a given trait’s personal and .social relevance. Personal relevance refers to whether a trait is central to a person’s self-identity whereas social relevance refers to the perceived social value of a given trait. People reporting that a trait is central to their identity are expected to behave according to their true standing on the trait. However, people reporting that a trait is important to whether others will like them are expected to behave in accordance with situational demands rather than in accordance with their inner dispositions. The results of a self-peer rating study showed that ratings of personal relevance were associated with higher levels of self-peer agreement whereas ratings of social relevance were associated with lower levels of self-peer agreement. This pattern of results was obtained despite a significant positive correlation between ratings of personal and social relevance. Results also showed that ratings of social relevance were independent of two other previously identified moderators, self-reported trait consistency and observability.

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