What You Say of Others Reflects on You

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., Aug. 2 (UPI) — A person’s comments about others reflect more about themselves than about those they are speaking of, U.S. researchers suggest.

Dustin Wood, assistant professor of psychology at Wake Forest University, Peter Harms at the University of Nebraska and Simine Vazire of Washington University in St. Louis say a person’s tendency to describe others in positive terms is an important indicator of the positivity of the person’s own personality traits and their emotional stability.


“Your perceptions of others reveal so much about your own personality,” Wood says in a statement. “Seeing others positively reveals our own positive traits.”

The study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, finds particularly strong associations between positively judging others and how enthusiastic, happy, kind-hearted, courteous, emotionally stable and capable one describes oneself and is described by others.

Conversely, negative perceptions of others are linked to higher levels of narcissism and anti-social behavior, the study says.

“A huge suite of negative personality traits are associated with viewing others negatively,” Wood says in a statement. “The simple tendency to see people negatively indicates a greater likelihood of depression and various personality disorders.”

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