Interpersonal Perception

A Social Relations Analysis

David A. Kenny

August 5, 1994
ISBN 9780898621143
Price: $54.00 $45.90
270 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"

David A. Kenny's pioneering contribution takes a social relations approach to basic questions of person perception in social interaction. Enlightening and provocative, this volume provides a comprehensive theoretical overview of "interpersonal perception," a field of research that holds great promise for shedding light on social behavior. Blending meticulous analysis with thoughtful interpretation, the book demonstrates how interpersonal perception enhances the traditional study of person perception by capturing the richness of social behavior.

To introduce the topic, Kenny clearly explicates the differences between person perception and interpersonal perception, showing that while the traditional paradigm is guided by descriptions of hypothetical people, interpersonal perception takes into account the bidirectional reality of dyadic interaction. The book addresses three fundamentally different types of perceptions:
  • How we see other people
  • How we see ourselves
  • How we think we are seen by others
Nine different questions are based on the relationships among these perceptions. To answer these questions, the author sets forth the Social Relations Model, a research paradigm that posits people as both perceivers and targets. The model is flexible in that it allows for the possibility of meta- and self-perception, and it considers the impact of particular interactions with another on an individual's behavioral changes. The collection, interpretation, analysis, and summary of data are covered here in depth.

The main body of the work examines specific theoretical issues within interpersonal perception. Devoting one chapter to each issue—labeled assimilation, consensus, uniqueness, reciprocity, target accuracy, assumed reciprocity, meta-accuracy, assumed similarity, and self-other agreement—Kenny presents the relevant research evidence for each one. The book concludes with a synthesis of the major issues, an examination of the links between behavior and perception, and a discussion of the insights the available evidence can yield about social relations.

This unique volume is invaluable reading for all social scientists interested in person perception. Offering the first available overview of this significant new field of research, Interpersonal Perception is also an important text for courses on the subject.

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