One can also define triadic meta-accuracy: Does A know what B thinks of C? Most of the work on meta-accuracy has concentrated on dyadic meta-accuracy or a person's ability to know what others think of him or her. (Learn about triadic perceptions.)
The dominant component in meta-perception is the perceiver effect, usually accounting for over 50 percent of the total variance. People think that others see them in the same way. (Perhaps this is more true of western perceivers?) There is usually little evidence of target effects in meta-perception (typically accounting for less than 5 percent of the total variance); that is people do not agree on who is a harsh or lenient judge of others. Relationship variance in meta-perceptions is usually found (between about 5 to 15 percent of the total variance), but there is usually much more perceiver than relationship variance.
There is evidence for generalized meta-accuracy, but not much for dyadic meta-accuracy. Perceiver meta-accuracy is difficult to measure because perceivers do not agree that some people are harsh judges of others and others are lenient. The strongest correlate of meta-perception is self-perception (i.e, the correlation between how we see ourselves and how we think that others see us): Perceivers think that others see them as they see themselves. In meta-accuracy, the perceiver wonders what the target is thinking about the person or others. In empathic accuracy (see William Ickes), the perceiver wonders what the target is thinking about at a particular time.
Kenny and DePaulo consider four
different models of how meta-perceptions are formed. They are:
Future research needs to determine when dyadic meta-accuracy occurs. Possible factors leading to it might be status differences and uncertainty about how to evaluate the behavior. The naive model, which is part of symbolic interactionism, may be more true for young children when the self-concept is developing.
Chapter 8 of Interpersonal Perception: A Social Relations Analysis
Kenny, D. A., Bond, C. F., Jr., Mohr, C. D., & Horn, E. M. (1996). Do we know how much people like one another? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 928-936.
Kenny, D. A., & DePaulo, B. M. (1993). Do people know how others view them?: An empirical and theoretical account. Psychological Bulletin, 114, 145-161.
I want to thank Bella DePaulo who worked with me extensively on the topic of meta-perception and developed many of these ideas.
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