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Cuperman & Ickes (2009)

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31 Comments to “Cuperman & Ickes (2009)”
  1. Sunghee Kim says:

    Sunghee Kim

    Big 5 predictors of behavior and perceptions in initial dyadic interactions: personality similarity helps extraverts and introverts, but hurts “disagreeable”

    This study was conducted based on Costa & McCrae’s the 5-factor model: extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, conscientiousness, and openness. The study

    showed how each of the Big 5 factors predicts behavior and perception in initial interactions.

    Findings shown in extraversion: there was a personality similarity in interaction effects. The results showed that two introverts or two extraverts demonstrated better

    behavioral and perceptual outcomes, versus an extravert and an introvert. It resulted that extraversion had one behavioral actor effect. Individuals with extroversion did not

    use first-person pronouns (I, me, mine, myself, and etc). When an extraverted person is having a conversation, he or she with extraversion attempts to have conversation

    about the other person.
    Findings shown in agreeableness: The study showed that either an actor (attribute one’s actions to external causes) or a partner (influence of one to another) is

    agreeable. If then, the initial interaction turns to be good. One person (either an actor or a partner) who is agreeable in an initial interaction gave either the actor or partner

    to engage in certain positive behaviors and have certain positive perceptions. But if both people (actor and partner) were disagreeable, there was a negative synergy. They

    would not show their personal information, used less verbal acknowledgments, and demonstrated low rapport. Unlike extraversion, the agreeable had many behavioral actor

    effects such as acknowledging verbally, being talkative, and giving head nods with smiles and laughs; these were positive talking skills in conversation.

    Overall, this study showed that how behavior itself is important. Even if an introverted person can easily get along with other introverted ones, it could be challenging to

    change the underlying perceptions that are manifested in extraversion. However, according to the Five-factor model, agreeableness contained significant behavioral

    components, and only one party was to be agreeable. This indicates that a disagreeable person can consciously engage in these specific behaviors to fake agreeability,

    which can direct it to better and more pleasant initial interactions.


    1. The study was held in a laboratory. Can this initial interaction imply someone outside the laboratory?

    2. The study was looking for the results from the participants who did not know each other but the participants were enrolled in introductory level psychology courses at the University of Texas at Arlington. There would be a chance the participants would know each other? It could influence the results.

    • Sergiu Barcaci says:

      Sunghee, very thoughtful and insightful summary, especially your point of a disagreeable person potentially faking agreeability. I think this could also be influenced by whether the disagreeable person is an extrovert or introvert. An extroverted disagreeable person could make his disagreeableness known through his actions while an introverted may be, as you mention, engaging in behaviors to fake the agreeability. As for your questions, the laboratory setting could have an impact on the results; the same test should be done in another setting as well to lend more credibility. It’s also a very valid point that many of these students could potentially know each other, thereby skewing the results. A question asking whether they knew each other should have been presented on the post-experiment questionnaire to account for this.

    • drcb says:

      There’s always a trade-off between internal and external validity. This study tried to be naturalistic by having the interaction in-lab. But there’s still the question of how these things would work in the true “real world.”

  2. Ariel Zucker says:

    While the authors found the Actor X Partner interaction effects to be the most novel and interesting finding, I personally found the subtle theoretical implications to be the most noteworthy. From my experiences speaking with peers about personality types, many people understand “extroversion” as “talkativeness”. Given the findings from this study, these authors suggest that extroverts might just give the impression of being more talkative due to their more direct, more unself-conscious, and more confident style of talking. They go on to further suggest that we should deemphasize the amount of talking and give greater emphasis to different aspects of interaction style (i.e., its distractedness, lack of self-consciousness, and confident assumption of being liked and accepted but the interaction partner).

    Even though the objective coding of talkativeness did not distinguish extroverts from introverts, I would be curious to know if we would see similar results from the self-report measures. Specifically, would ratings on the first question on the Big Five Inventory (BFI) (“Is Talkative”) distinguish extroverts from introverts? If the author’s suggestion is correct and extroverts just give the impression that they’re more talkative, shouldn’t it be important to consider whether or not the extroverts rate themselves as more talkative on the BFI? It’s interesting that the authors cite selected findings from Funder and Sneed (1993)’s BFI but don’t seem to compare their own itemize results in the same way.

    This question brings up an even bigger theoretical question for me: who should be defining personality? Should it be defined by how someone understands themselves (measured by self-reports) or should it be defined by how others understand and interact with the person (measured by objective coding)?

    • Chen Tiferet-Dweck says:

      The researchers’ findings of different interactions between actors and partners as a function of their personalities are fascinating. It challenges the old cliche (and studies supporting it) that opposites attract to each other. I would like to bring two points regarding the paper. One concerns the applications of these findings in group dynamics and in isolated work teams. The other concerns the use of psychological students as subjects.

      These findings made me think about the use of group dynamics to evaluate candidates for a program or to a job position. Accordingly, if we place only candidates that are not agreeable we can predict that the evaluation of their group dynamic will be low. Same wise, if we will put at least one agreeable person in the group the dynamic should be improve. In other words, what if our evaluation of a person in group dynamics is mistaken because it is actually depends on the parties in the group, and by not taking into account the parties personalities we might perceive a person as a more team-player than he/she really is and vice versa. If these findings will be replicated in different populations and situations, I think it will be worth to evaluate the personality of the candidate prior the group session starts and either to use this information when assigning candidates to the different groups or, take this information in account when evaluating each candidate for the position.

      These findings can also be applied when evaluating candidates for teams that are required to work together for relatively long time in isolated from the world. For example, a research team in a deserted place like Antarctica, astronauts in space, submarine sailors, or mountain group climbers. In any situation where the group is small and it is fundamentally that the parties will be able to develop good relationships and enjoyable interactions with each other.

      Lastly, the authors used only psychological students for this study, and they addressed that under study limitations. I think psychology students are less naïve than students from other departments and they will try to guess the experiment’s goals. This effort might affect their behavior in the experiment. Even if they honestly did not suspect that they were recorded by any mean, they still have prior knowledge and experience in the field of psychology, that students from other departments do not have, which can be a confound in this study. Therefore, targeting students from different departments should eliminate a threat of prior knowledge and experience in psychology.

      • Dakota says:

        Chen, I found your point about group dynamics for individual candidate evaluation for programs or jobs to be fascinating. The authors touch on a point similar to that involving situational boundary conditions where they ponder if two disagreeable partners can find ways to effectively interact when mutual cooperation is needed for a higher goal. I can’t help but be reminded of the classic Robber’s Cave (Sherif) experiment. While the main objective of Sherif’s experiment was to identify aspects of group conflict, when I was reading the Cuperman article I found myself pondering if the Robber’s Cave results would have been significantly different with a perhaps more diverse personality profile sample (not all Boy Scouts). Although individual differences exist in any sample, it is somewhat easy to construct a hypothetical Big 5 profile for a Boy Scout, entailing high agreeableness and conscientiousness. I wonder what the group dynamics would have been in this case had there been groups of disagreeable people, or at least one agreeable person in each group, and if we would have seen significantly different results.

      • Sara Babad says:

        Chen, your thoughts about using psychology students as research participants resonates with a question I had about situational constraints. Having two strangers sit in the same room, in a likely strange environment is very different from having two strangers meet at, let’s say, a social event. Anecdotally, it makes sense to me that two individuals meeting in a doctor’s office (which seems similar to the somewhat formal, contrived meeting in a research lab setting) would behave very differently than two people meeting at a mutual friend’s birthday party, for example. Perhaps intention plays a role? People meeting at a social event are more likely to have entered the event with the intent to be social. Mood could also impact how likely one is to engage with a stranger as well as current stress. I would have liked to see the authors use some sort of control for current mood and/or stress. In line with this, I’m thinking of a social psychology experiment (I think it was Darley & Batson, 29173) that looked at how likely people are to help someone else in need. The study found that the strongest deciding factor was how rushed the person felt – meaning that if the participant had somewhere to be or was late, s/he would not stop to help but if s/he was not in a rush, then s/he would stop to help. This seems to indicate that situational factors can have a large impact on interpersonal behavior. Similarly, in the current study, I wonder if situational factors like stress (i.e., a participant had a test that day) could have impacted their interpersonal interactions (i.e., made them less talkative, engaging, friendly).

      • drcb says:

        Good application ideas in different group settings! As long as there are enough agreeable people to go around 🙂

    • Chen Tiferet-Dweck says:

      Ariel, I think your last question is interesting and bring the egg-chicken dilemma. I would say a person is too subjective to testify on his own personality and it should be evaluated by his interaction with others coded by observers. However, there are some that are able to evaluate themselves accurately without any bias. Their evaluation of themselves will be similar to the evaluation done by an objective observer. The ability to evaluate yourself with or without any bias depends on your personality though. Hence, both self evaluation and objective evaluation can or perhaps should be used in order to assess someone’s personality.

      • Scott Ewing says:

        To build upon that (sort of), I also found myself wondering about order effects and why they chose to begin the protocol with administration of the BFI. Might the students have behaved differently than normal in their interaction after answering a bunch of questions about their social tendencies? That’s probably preferable to them answering the BFI dishonestly after finding out they were recorded, but I’m surprised the authors didn’t discuss this decision.

    • Ulzhan says:

      Ariel, it was interesting to read your point of view regards to the article and your last question caught my attention. I believe even well-designed Personality inventory will always benefit from an outside perspective. Therefore, the self-report and the outside observer would show more reliable results in order to separate introverts and extraverts. This reminds me of a situation mentioned in our last class how people can change their introversion or extraversion can be situational. I also agree with Chen, often time people are very subjective in their own responses. Therefore, it would be important to take into consideration both measures of self-report and measures of objective coding.

  3. Dakota Egglefield says:

    One specific result of this study that stood out to me was not too heavily emphasized by the authors involved the profile painted of neuroticism within the study. The result that those who were more neurotic endorsed feeling more self-conscious and reported greater use of their partner’s behavior as a guide for their own Is not too surprising and fits the Big 5 personality profile of neuroticism. However, I find the second part of this finding, the fact that neurotic people also believed their partners to be more self-conscious, to be quite contradictory based on the personality facets associated with neuroticism. From my understanding, the facets generally accompanying neuroticism do not include finding similarities between oneself and others or identifying with another person. It is more understandable to me that a person high in neuroticism would focus on highlighting differences between themselves and a partner, especially those that may make them feel anxious or uncomfortable in conversation.

    Within this finding it almost seems as if those high in neuroticism were projecting their own feelings onto their partners. While projection of feelings can perhaps indicate emotional instability, I do not see it particularly mapping on to the profile of neuroticism. I wonder if this facet would be better placed elsewhere, such as low on conscientiousness, where a person might be inclined to misjudge situations or rush into things before fully considering them. It is a well-known goal of personality research, and understandably so, to separate the Big 5 traits and examine them individually as they relate to human actions and behaviors. However, the authors highlight the aforementioned result and do not delve into a hypothesized reason why those high in neuroticism may be projecting their feelings onto the partner. Perhaps it was not so interesting to them, but in order to spark a stronger discussion and thoroughly pick apart their findings, they may have completed further statistical inspection to see if there was another factor (conscientiousness) mediating the actor’s projection of their own feelings onto their partner.

    • Crystal says:

      Dakota, I also found it interesting that those high on neuroticism tended to project similar feelings onto their partners. Individuals high on neuroticism are more emotional instable, more anxious, and self-conscious. Since it could be difficult to accept these feelings, projection may be the psychological defense mechanism that unconsciously allows the person with higher neuroticism to feel as though they are similar to others and accepted in a way, reducing the anxiety. This is a little surprising to me as well because I would imagine that a individuals high on neuroticism would perhaps blame themselves and attribute the awkwardness of conversation to their own behavior since they are self-conscious.

    • Shira Russell-Giller says:

      Dakota, I appreciated you highlighting the counter-intuitive finding that people with high neuroticism believed their partners to be more self-conscious in this study. It is an interesting point you make that neurotic people may have been projecting their own feelings onto their partner. To your point about the author’s lack of hypothesizing about this finding, a potential explanation is the egocentric pattern projection hypothesis – the idea that people use self-assessment of their own attributes when making judgments about other’s attributes. In an attempt to relieve some anxiety, it is plausible that a person rating high in neuroticism and feeling self-conscious in the moment would actually perceive others to be self-conscious to equalize the dynamic. Additionally, I think high anxiety can also lead to egocentric thinking, lending to this egocentric projection. I am also curious about whether another personality factor is involved in this finding. Perhaps a complex combination of neuroticism with another personality factor gave rise to egocentric projection.

    • drcb says:

      I agree it could have potentially been projection for the N findings. The finding should probably be replicated to see if it holds true.

  4. Scott Ewing says:

    In the article “Big Five Predictors of Behavior…” by Cuperman and Ickes (2009), the authors examine the Big 5 as they relate to a number of characteristics of spontaneous interactions within dyads. I’ll be presenting this article on Monday, so some of the following are just “feelers” for discussion topics.

    I think the most interesting portions of the article were those that attempted to present or define ‘extroversion’ vs ‘introversion’. As mentioned in class, different theorists have had a different take on these traits; I’ve also found that the terms seem to mean different things to different people. After reading this article I tried an online version of the Big Five Inventory, which gave instant results and offered interpretations for each scale. The site said Extroverts “are talkative…adventurous, take risks, and generally view life as a playground. They tend to experience positive emotions.” Introverts, on the other hand, “prefer to withdrawal [sic] and … enjoy activities that provide lower levels of stimulation … they prefer to play it safe and not take too many risks. They may be more even-keeled in their emotions and not experience as many high-highs.” Reading this, I picture extroverts as happy, energetic, and playful, and introverts as numb and boring. That feels very wrong to me and I was surprised that such an “official”-looking site had such a biased, almost judgmental portrayal.

    The findings within this article and the authors’ interpretations make a lot more sense to me. That they didn’t find support for the notion of ‘Extroverted=Talkative, Introverted=Quiet’ is actually kind of affirming: I always rank a little higher on Introversion in similar questionnaires, and I know that I and many other introverts can be very talkative when engaged and comfortable. The authors, with data to back up the statements, paint a picture of Extroversion as simply a stronger desire to engage others when given an opportunity (an active participant), and Introversion as contentedness in allowing others to take the lead in a preliminary interaction with an unfamiliar partner (a passive participant). This resonated with me.

    Other thoughts that could be opportunities for discussion on Monday include: 1) do these results suggest that Openness to Experience and empathy are related; 2) why might Conscientious folk be perceived as more self-conscious; and 3) how could some of these findings be helpful when putting work groups together, like committees or teams?

    • Sunghee Kim says:

      Hello, Scott. First, thanks for sharing your thoughts about the article. While I was reading your paper, I also had similar thinking as you did. I also want to share my thoughts based on your paper. Based on your question 2) why might Conscientious folk be perceived as more self-conscious: From my understanding, conscientious individuals do recognize the importance of wordings which lead to becoming careful behavior. They try to pick a correct word to make a conversation. Conscientious individuals are more likely to aware of their own actions. It may lead individuals with Conscientiousness more likely to show as self-conscious.

      And your paper reminds me of our first day of personality class. When we had a discussion regarding our own personality. I see myself as an introverted person but depending on given situations, I sometimes being very talkative, happy and active. As you mentioned, it is very hard to affirm the personality as ‘Extroverted=Talkative, Introverted=Quiet’.

    • MINJUNG PARK says:

      Hi, Scott! I like your opinion. I was also deeply impressed with the point, “Extroverted=Talkative, Introverted=Quiet” in this article, which I also dealt with. I feel like I am introverted. After reading this article, I realized that my subjective thought might have an effect on my behaviors and perceptions. Personality is very complexed and interacted, so personality survey cannot reveal all traits. Thus, we have to consider this respect and to deal with the problem and solution. Thank you!

    • Gregory Rosen says:

      Hi Scott, I also found Extraversion to be an especially interesting topic in the article. I was not convinced, however, that the results were aligned with Jung’s view: “…whether Extraversion is associated with an outward focus (as Jung’s, 1921, original conception assumes) or with an egocentric self-focus (as some of the work on narcissism suggests…” Do you think it’s possible that taking the lead, feeling less self-conscious, perceiving the interaction to be smooth, and feeling comfortable might not be an outward focus, but instead indicate pushiness, obliviousness, and overconfidence?

      • Sophie Schiff says:

        Related to Gregory’s point, I think the findings regarding extraversion as it relates to the self are really interesting. Based on the Funder and Sneed paper cited, there is a negative correlation between “volunteers little information regarding self” and extraversion. In this study, the authors hypothesized that extraversion would be positively associated with “amount of talking” and the “amount of personal self-disclosure.” On the one hand, this study reveals that there is a negative correlation between levels of extraversion and the number of self-referential pronouns used, consistent with Jung’s view of extraverts focusing away from themselves. On the other hand, the amount of self-disclosures was influenced by the level of extraversion of the partner, in that extraverted actors would self-disclose significantly more to extraverted partners. These findings paint a complex picture of extraversion as it relates to the self in that there is some evidence of a negative relationship between a focus on the self and extraversion in isolation, but when taking into account the partner’s personality, extraversion tends to focus more on the self. One hypothesis is that when extraverts interact with introverts, perhaps they employ more questions, whereas the content of the exchange between two extraverts involves dialogue that requires less prompting via questions and leads to more naturally offered self-disclosure. Interestingly, the authors did indeed measure the number of questions asked by each dyad member, but did not report any findings.

      • Victoria Fairchild says:

        I think this is an interesting point, as the study found that for those with a particularly extroverted partner, they had to then take a more passive role in the conversation and provide more affirmations to the Actor, but that “…adopting this more passive role was not an entirely pleasant experience is suggested by the additional finding that the actors tended to smile less often as their partner’s level of extroversion increased”. This partner reaction seems to support the idea that higher levels of extroversion may indicate obliviousness or overconfidence in their partners level of interest.

      • drcb says:

        I also didn’t buy the Jungian explanations. E does correlate with negative qualities such as narcissism (e.g., Holtzman, Vazire, & Mehl, 2010).

    • Shanna Razak says:

      I can see where you are coming from. I have always taken personality tests such as the “16 factors” that resulted in me being more extraverted than introverted. Many of these tests stated those who are extraverted are very outgoing and definitely talkative. However, I would not consider myself to be talkative. I can be outgoing but this is situational-based. For example, among good friends, I am much more free in letting my thoughts out. On the other hand, I’m very quiet when it comes to meeting people for the first time. I think personality and the Big Five are very complicated when it comes to creating a set definition for them. When it comes to personality I do believe that traits can be connected to certain behaviors but it does not mean that person will exhibit these behaviors in every situation. For example, if we go back to the experiment maybe many participants who were extroverted weren’t talkative in that situation because they were unfamiliar with the person in the room. It would be interesting to compare these behaviors across different situations for people of different personality traits

  5. Gregory Rosen says:

    Bleidorn, W., Klimstra, T.A., Enissen, J.J.A., Rengrow, P.J., Potter, J., & Gosling, S.D. (2013). Personality maturation around the world – A cross-cultural examination of Social Investment Theory. Psychological science, 24, 2530-2540.

    This article left me with a number of questions. First, were the authors overstepping the serious limitations of convenience sampling when they made their generalizations in the conclusion?

    Second, why do they consider this an important topic to study? Perhaps it was meant as pure, not applied, research, but I am left wondering about their motivation.

    Third, what do they mean by gender? Given that gender may or may not be tied to biological sex, and is not always considered binary, I wonder what their operational definition was for that ambiguous term.

    Fourth, what do they mean by adulthood? Their usage seems to switch among correlated traits and roles, age group, and “process of psychological maturation.”

    Fifth, what is their operational definition of personality maturation? Is it a reference to change, or does it indicate responses that are culturally deemed appropriate (desirable) within a certain environment, or something else? From the perspective that greater maturity is a desirable process, I question the assumptions that decreased neuroticism and increased extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness are appropriate in the shared global environment. And I similarly question if transition to so-called adult roles, such as entering the workforce, marriage, and parenthood, are inherently appropriate. All 62 cultures included in the study have at least one thing in common – they live on Earth, which is said to have entered the Anthropocene epoch — this includes anthropogenic climate change and a sixth major extinction. Under those circumstances, the traits and adult roles once appropriate (mature) may have shifted. In the face of dire environmental threats and failure of cultures to respond effectively, might it become appropriate (mature), as an adaptive coping mechanism and impetus for societal change, to feel more anxious and angry (Neuroticism), less gregarious and warm (Extraversion) toward status quo seekers, less open to change (Openness) given the alarming predicted changes, less compliant and trusting (Agreeableness) toward authority, and less desiring of the societal duties and rules (Conscientiousness)? And might it be appropriate (mature) to neither seek to enter a workforce that enables economies to exacerbate anthropogenic damage, nor have children on a dangerously overpopulated planet? This is not meant to be Socratic questioning.

    • Gregory Rosen says:

      Oh my, I just realized I wrote about the other article, not the presentation article, so please disregard my entry.

  6. Minjung Park says:

    In the article “Big Five Predictors of Behavior and Perceptions in Initial Dyadic Interactions:…” by Cuperman and Ickes (2009), the researchers studied about traits in the Big Five that are interacted within dyad members’ behaviors and perceptions. (The Big Five: Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism, Conscientiousness, and Openness).

    The most interesting part of this article is about talking regarding the most common-sense expectation that ‘Extraversion is talkativeness.’ When I am thinking about myself, I may be an introvert because there are some clues around me. For example, introverts are less likely to raise their hand in a classroom or to volunteer in public situations. Moreover, when I have break time, I enjoy having time to myself such as watching a movie or playing with my dog. On the Internet, these are all general that indicate how introverts behave.
    However, whenever I meet my introverted friends, we are the most talkative people. When we meet and discuss with any “hot issue,” I might be aggressive, or sometimes I interrupt their talking. So far, many studies have made various conclusions and theories. However, in this study, the researchers said that “Extroversion is talkativeness” can be possible due to specific actions they have such as directiveness or confident style of talking. I agree in this point. Whenever I have a personality questionnaire like the Big Five Inventory (BFI), sometimes I feel that I am answering about those questions with a thought that I am introverted. I think these biased perceptions may have an effect on my behaviors and thoughts to a certain way.

    My question is, Are all the questions about the current personality survey correct? Is there any bias?

    • Ariel Zucker says:

      Minjung, thank you for bringing up this point. I think you’re highlighting a really important and relevant question about the psychometrics of the BFI – people bring expectations and bias (consciously or unconsciously) to the measure. As someone who has been told that she is an introvert, it makes sense that you are answering questions with the expectation that you are an introvert and this expectation is biasing your response. In class we spoke about various ways to control for response bias. For example, it might be beneficial to include peer reports to the analysis of personality in conjunction with self-reports. It is likely that your friends might have reported you higher on extroversion, resulting in a more accurate representation of your overall personality.

    • Katherine Chang says:

      I think Minjung and Scott have really interesting points on the extraversion/introversion dynamic. Additionally the points made in the comments have been extremely thought-provoking as well.

      Regarding Scott’s point on extraversion being more “active” compared to a more “passive” approach for introversion, that really resonated with me as that is a dynamic my friends and I have discussed at length. People tend to define me as extraverted and I was never in complete agreement because I don’t like being the “life of the party” or actively seek out conversations. However, if put in a situation where I feel like someone needs to take charge of the conversation, I don’t mind being in that active role.

      That being said, to Victoria’s point of needing to take a more passive role when a partner was particularly extraverted. I can also attest to that in when I speak to others that I recognize and liking to be the “life of the party,” I have no problem letting them take over and would actually rather them do that. I do recognize that requiring more affirmations can be tiring which might explain the lower amount of smiling.

      This all being said, something that had been introduced to the public is this concept of being an “ambivert” – a combination of extraversion and introversion. This was Jung’s idea of being in the middle of this spectrum. He posited that, “there is no such thing as a pure introvert or extrovert. Such a person would be in the lunatic asylum.” And in his textbook, Psychological Types, he defined ambiversion as “a third group… the most numerous and includes the less differentiated normal man… He constitutes the extensive middle group… I call the first group extraverted and the second group introverted.” I think it’s too easy to create hard lines and forget that personality lies on a continuum and is potentially situational. I am curious to continue discussing to see where we can arrive on a consensus.

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