David A. Kenny
May 16, 2002

The degree to which a perceiver sees him or herself, he or she sees others the same way. Using the Social Relations Model, assumed similarity is assessed by the correlation between self-perception and the perceiver effect.  So if Jane sees others friendly, does Jane see herself as friendly.  Using Laing notation, it is symbolized as A(B) = A(A).  Assumed similarity is one of the oldest questions in person perception.  It is typically referred to as false consensus bias in social cognition research.

It is difficult to know whether assumed similarity reflects a psychological process or reflects a method effect: Ratings by the same observer of self and others share the same measuring device. However, based on extensive experimental evidence, it appears that assumed similarity is real. Assumed similarity effects are strongest for the Big Five factor of agreeableness.  Assumed similarity seems to increase with acquaintance.  Although one might thing that there would be assumed dissimilarity for ratings of outgroup members, no such effect is found.

Chapters 9 and 10 of Interpersonal Perception: A Social Relations Analysis

Go to the next Interpersonal Perception page.

Go to the Interpersonal Perception menu.