The Sources of Interpersonal Well-Being Judgments

Choi, Hyewon, Psychology - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Oishi, Shigehiro, AS-Psychology, University of Virginia
Diener, Edward, AS-Psychology, University of Virginia

Previous research has shown that self-reports of well-being (life satisfaction, positive affect, negative affect) moderately agree with other-reports of one’s well-being. Less is known, however, about how and why such agreement occurs. Using Brunswik’s lens model, I examined with what cues people signal their well-being and what cues people use to judge others’ well-being and then explored the sources of self-other agreement in well-being judgments. In Studies 1 and 2, strangers provided others’ reports on the targets’ well-being. In Study 1, based on the targets’ self-introductions, strangers accurately guessed the targets’ life satisfaction and positive affect, but not negative affect. Loud voice and physical attractiveness were the sources of accurate well-being judgments. In Study 2, strangers accurately judged the targets’ life satisfaction only, based on 5-minute dyadic interactions. However, no cue was found to be valid and utilized for life satisfaction judgments. In Studies 3 and 4, close others provided others’ reports. In Study 3, close others accurately judged targets’ all three well-being measures. Close others based life satisfaction judgments on family, whereas they based positive affect and negative affect judgments on optimism. In Study 4, groups of four friends rated themselves and the other three friends on well-being. Again, friends’ ratings on all three well-being measures corresponded with self-ratings. Various cues helped lead to such accurate judgments. The implications of these results for interpersonal well-being judgments are discussed.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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