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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The "Good Dyad" : examining the impact of personality and behavior on dyadic accuracy in first impressions Rogers, Katherine Helen


Much research on the accuracy of interpersonal perception has focused on either the good judge– the individual who accurately perceives others’ personality (e.g., Letzring, 2008), or the good target– the individual whose personality is accurately perceived by others (e.g., Human & Biesanz, 2013). Despite there being reliable variance attributable to the dyad (Biesanz, 2010) previous work has largely overlooked the importance of the dyad and little is known as to why some dyads result in more accurate and more positive impressions than do others. To more fully understand the process of impression formation, it is imperative to investigate the characteristics of the good dyad. As such, this dissertation examines the mechanisms associated with changes in dyadic accuracy in first impressions of personality. In order to understand the behaviors and characteristics associated with dyadic accuracy, 77 participants were videotaped engaging in a total of 437 unstructured 3-minute interactions with another previously unacquainted participant. Raters then coded participants’ behavior and personality, as well as general aspects of the interaction. This dissertation investigates dyadic characteristics and processes associated with dyadic accuracy, how behavior changes across interactions, and the role of changes in behavior in understanding dyadic accuracy. Using the social accuracy model (SAM; Biesanz, 2010), the good dyad is considered in terms of two components of accuracy: distinctive accuracy, understanding an individual’s own unique patterning of traits, and normative accuracy, viewing an individually positively and as similar to the average person. For distinctive accuracy, stable characteristics of the individuals in the dyad impacted the degree to which targets were viewed in line with their own unique traits. Further, between-person differences in behavior generally moderated the impact of within-person changes in behavior on distinctive accuracy. For normative accuracy, the quality of the interaction, interpersonal attraction, and engagement impacted the positivity impressions. Additionally, changes in behavior mediated the impact of changes in dyadic characteristics (e.g., engagement) on normative accuracy. In sum, examining dyadic characteristics and processes, as well as behavior allows greater insight into the process of impression formation by looking beyond stable individual differences and considering variability across dyadic interactions.

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