Searching for the Open Book: Exploring Predictors of Target Readability in Interpersonal Accuracy
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Interpersonal perception research has disproportionately focused on perceivers (who make judgments), while largely ignoring targets (who are judged). This study explored the role target characteristics play as perceivers judge their thoughts, emotions, and personality traits in brief get-to-know-you interactions between unacquainted college students. Funder's Realistic Accuracy Model suggests that in order for a target to be readable that person must emit relevant cues that are made available to perceivers; thus, individual differences that are likely to be related to cue relevance and availability were investigated. Because looking for more or less readable targets presumes individual differences in readability, this project also examined how variance in interpersonal accuracy was distributed across levels (i.e., how variance associated with differences among targets compares to variance associated with differences among perceivers). The results suggest some targets are more readable than others, but there is no evidence that readability is a general characteristic as readability did not correlate across three commonly used interpersonal accuracy measures. However, several correlates of target readability were identified, and overall the good target was someone who was less sensitive to social threats, less likely to mask their inner experiences, and higher in psychological adjustment.