HOW OTHERS ARE PERCEIVED: THE EFFECT OF PERSONALITY FEEDBACK (PROJECTION)

LAWRENCE WEINBERGER, Fordham University

Abstract

The present study investigated the validity of two models which explain why individuals who receive personally-relevant feedback alter their evaluations of other persons. An increased correspondence between the feedback recipients' evaluations of themselves and others is frequently observed after undesirable feedback, although fewer consistent findings have been obtained utilizing desirable feedback.^ A motivational model suggests that individuals attempt to maintain a favorable self-presentation in response to feedback. The importance of situational variables such as the desirability of the feedback or the favorability of the other person (target) as determinants of whether individuals can enhance or protect their self-esteem is stressed. A cognitive (information-processing) model suggests that as a result of the feedback, individuals alter their perspectives employed for judging others, rather than enhancing their self-images. Accordingly, individuals' changes in targets' evaluations should be independent of situational factors.^ The present study assessed the role of individuals' personality traits to determine whether a motivational or cognitive model is adopted. The self-evaluations of 120 subjects were altered to yield desirable or undesirable feedback. Subjects were selected according to their presumed degree of sensitivity to the feedback desirability, using a measure of "public self-consciousness". The dependent measures were the changes between subjects' pre- and post-feedback evaluations of a favorable or an unfavorable target.^ It was expected that individuals for whom the feedback was important--high public self-consciousness group--would exhibit a pattern of selective attribution of the feedback as a function of the feedback's desirability and the targets' favorability; while subjects less sensitive to the feedback--low public self-consciousness groups--were expected to display equivalent attribution of the feedback irrespective of the above factors.^ The results of the study were consistent with a cognitive model only; no support for a motivational model was obtained. Self-consciousness did not differentiate between subjects' responses to the feedback, and the feedback's desirability did not affect attribution to the favorable target. Results for the unfavorable target showed little change. Methodological issues discussed included the significance of the feedback and the selection of targets and relevant personality characteristics. ^

Subject Area

Social psychology

Recommended Citation

WEINBERGER, LAWRENCE, "HOW OTHERS ARE PERCEIVED: THE EFFECT OF PERSONALITY FEEDBACK (PROJECTION)" (1984). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8506365.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8506365

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