Friend or foe? Differential use of the self-based heuristic as a function of relationship satisfaction

Joshua Weller, David Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


We report two studies investigating whether relationship satisfaction differentially influences the use of the "self-based heuristic" (SBH) or the degree to which an individual's own characteristics contribute to ratings of another's personality. Individuals rated themselves, a friend, and a person with whom they have experienced significant conflict (a "foe"); ratings were made on measures of the Big Five and trait affectivity. Replicating previous research, judges made greater use of the SBH when rating trait affectivity than when rating the Big Five. In addition, individuals were more likely to utilize the SBH when rating friends than when rating foes. Further, relationship satisfaction made significant independent contributions in accounting for the variance in trait ratings of others. These findings extend our understanding of the mechanisms involved with person perception beyond observable trait-related information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)731-60
JournalJournal of Personality
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Friends/psychology
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Machiavellianism
  • Male
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Personality
  • Personality Inventory
  • Psychological Tests
  • Regression Analysis
  • Self Concept
  • Social Perception
  • Young Adult


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