David A. Kenny
April 5, 2021

Chapter 1 of Interpersonal Perception: The Foundation of Social Relationships, pages 13-16.

Interpersonal perception refers the impression perceiver A has of target B on trait T. For instance, it might refer to Alice's view of Betty's honesty. The perceiver is a member of some class, e.g., students, as are the targets. Very often the perceiver and targets are members of the same class.

This page describes notation developed by R. D. Laing and questions in interpersonal perception that they give rise to.

Denote the impression that person A has of person B as A(B). (If "A" and "B" are confusing to you, then substitute "Alice" for "A" and "Betty" or "B".)  Self-perception of person A would be denoted as A(A).  The metaperception that A has of B or what A thinks that B thinks of A is denoted as A(B(A)). Finally, person A's actual standing on the trait is denoted as A.

The nine basic questions that are discussed in the book Interpersonal Perception: The Foundation of Social Relationships (2nd Edition) (see Table 1.1 on page 15) are as follows:


Other possible questions are the degree to which meta-perceptions are consistent with self perceptions or assumed understanding, which is denoted as A(B(A)) = A(A) and the degree to which self-perceptions are valid or A(A) = A, what is called Self-Accuracy. One can denote A(AB) as how A sees him or herself when interacting with B. Also the questions of consensus, assimilation, reciprocity, and uniqueness could be applied to meta-perceptions. Consult the triadic perceptions page, which introduces many new questions. Finally, Chapter 10 of 2020 book (pp. 281-287) introduces a new and very comprehensive list of 13 questions developed by Tessa West and myself.

To learn more about R. D. Laing.

To learn more about the history of the nine basic questions see Chapter 1 in Interpersonal Perception: A Social Relations Analysis (the first edition, published in 1994).

To download Chapter 1 of 2020 book that discusses the Nine Basic Questions click here.

Go to the next Interpersonal Perception page.

Book logo
Go to the Interpersonal Perception menu.