In-person, online, and up close: The cross-contextual consistency of expressive accuracy

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Description: People vary widely in their expressive accuracy, the tendency to be viewed in line with one’s unique traits. It is unclear, however, whether expressive accuracy is a stable individual difference that transcends social contexts or a more piecemeal, context-specific characteristic. The current research therefore examined the consistency of expressive accuracy across three social contexts: face-to-face initial interactions, close relationships, and on social media. There was clear evidence for cross-contextual consistency such that expressive accuracy in face-to-face first impressions, based on brief round-robin interactions, was associated with expressive accuracy with close others (Sample 1; Ntargets = 514; Ndyads = 1656) and based on viewing only Facebook profiles (Samples 2 and 3: Ntargets = 126–132; Ndyads = 1170–1476). This was found on average across traits and for high and low observability traits. Further, unique predictors emerged for different types of expressive accuracy, such that psychological adjustment and conscientiousness most consistently predicted overall expressive accuracy, extraversion most consistently predicted high observability expressive accuracy, and neuroticism most consistently predicted low observability expressive accuracy. In sum, expressive accuracy appears to emerge robustly and consistently across contexts, though its predictors may differ depending on the type of trait.

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International

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