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


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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