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Interpersonal sensitivity, status, and stereotype accuracy


A classic question in social and organizational psychology is whether low-status persons are more accurate in the perception of their high-status partners than the latter are in their perception of their subordinates. In a series of studies, Snodgrass (1985, 1992) tested this idea. She found that subordinates were more accurate at judging how their bosses viewed them than bosses were at judging how their subordinates viewed them, but that bosses were more accurate at judging how subordinates viewed themselves than subordinates were at judging how bosses viewed themselves. We believe, however, that these results were obscured by stereotype accuracy. Using previously collected data, we found that stereotype accuracy does lead to the pattern previously observed by Snodgrass. We also discovered that when we controlled for stereotype accuracy, subordinates’ perceptions were generally more accurate than those of their bosses, which supports Snodgrass’s original hypothesis.

D.A. Kenny
A. Snook
E.M. Boucher
J.T. Hancock
Psychological Science, 21 1735-1739
Publication Date
December 1, 2010