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Rating Others Positively Linked To Emotional Stability

August 2010 - Research led by Wake Forest University published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology identified an association between the degree to which individuals perceive others in positive terms and their own happiness and emotional stability.

Volunteers were asked to rate positive and negative characteristics of three people known to them. The positivity of responses was found to be associated with participants' own characteristics, especially how enthusiastic, happy, kind-hearted, courteous, emotionally stable and capable they described themselves and were rated by others. The study also found that how positively participants see others was an indicator of how satisfied they were with their own lives, and how much they were liked by others. The study was repeated after twelve months, results indicating that how positively others are perceived is a stable trait that does not change substantially over time.

In contrast, researchers found that negative perceptions of others were associated with higher levels of narcissism and antisocial behavior. They suggest that identification of techniques to increase positive perceptions of others could diminish behaviors associated with several different personality disorders.

Lead author Dustin Wood, assistant professor of psychology said:

"A huge suite of negative personality traits are associated with viewing others negatively. The simple tendency to see people negatively indicates a greater likelihood of depression and various personality disorders."

The findings suggest that an individual asked to rate the personality of a co-worker may reveal as much about their own personality as the person they are describing.

Dustin Wood commented:

"Your perceptions of others reveal so much about your own personality."

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