Accuracy and bias in newlywed spouses' perceptions of each other's personalities

Wendy I. Wood, C. Rebecca Oldham, Alan Reifman, Sylvia Niehuis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This study investigated moderators of newlywed spouses' accuracy in judging each other's personality. Spouses in 154 predominantly Hispanic newlywed couples rated their own and their partners' personality traits. Full-sample results showed significant associations between perceivers' and targets' personality ratings (“truth force”/“tracking accuracy”). Positive directional bias (perceivers' mean trait ratings of targets exceeding targets' self-ratings) also was evident. Positive directional bias occurred when perceivers had little familiarity with their spouse prior to dating and when perceivers had high self-esteem. Truth force/tracking accuracy increased with less time spent cohabiting and higher perceiver self-esteem. Positive associations between perceivers' self-esteem and ratings of partners on positively valenced traits were reduced when partners had had greater opportunities to observe one another's behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)886-901
Number of pages16
JournalPersonal Relationships
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2017


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