Readings: Lecture 5-6 – IMPORTANT INFO. FROM EACH ASSIGNED
Lecture 5: Who Knows What About a Person? The Self–Other Knowledge
Asymmetry (SOKA) Model
- This article tests a new model for predicting which aspects of personality are best judged by
the self and which are best judged by others. (self versus others)
- Previous research: an asymmetry in the accuracy of personality judgments
- Some aspects of personality are known better to the self than others and vice versa.
- According to the self– other knowledge asymmetry (SOKA) model:
the self should be more accurate than others for traits low in observability (e.g.,
others should be more accurate than the self for traits high in evaluativeness (e.g.,
- In the present study, 165 participants provided self-ratings and were rated by 4 friends and up to 4
strangers in a round-robin design.
- Participants then completed a battery of behavioural tests from which criterion measures were
- Results: Consistent with SOKA model predictions –
The self was the best judge of neuroticism-related traits
Friends were the best judges of intellect-related traits
People of all perspectives were equally good at judging extraversion-related traits.
- The theoretical and practical value of articulating this asymmetry is discussed.
Keywords: self-knowledge, accuracy, personality judgment, behaviour, peer ratings, round
robin design, elevation, SOKA model
- If we accept that, overall, personality judgments by informants are about as
accurate as personality judgments by the self, the next important question is, what
does each perspective know?
As Oltmanns and Turkheimer (2009) pointed out, little is known about the
relative merits of each perspective for predicting different outcomes.
- In 1955, Luft and Ingham proposed the Johari window as a model of the differences
between self- and other-perceptions. The Johari window contains four quadrants: (a)
aspects of personality known to both the self and others (arena), (b) aspects known to the
self but not others (facade), (c) aspects known to others but not the self (blind spot), and
(d)aspects unknown to both the self and others (unknown).
- Unfortunately, little research has been done to understand what aspects of personality fall
in each quadrant. - Identifying what the self knows that others do not know (i.e., the private aspects of
personality) can help us understand the impediments to accuracy in the process of
- Similarly, identifying what others know that the self does not know (i.e., the blind spots
in self-perception) can help us understand how self-perceptions are formed and when
they are distorted, shedding light on the adaptive value of self-knowledge and self-
- There is some evidence that the domains of knowledge of the self and others are not
- None of the authors provided an explanation for these asymmetries.
- Indeed, no theory exists to predict which perspective will be more accurate in a given
- The existing research on self– other asymmetries focuses mainly on asymmetries in the
process, rather than the outcome, of social perception.
- However, the asymmetry in the accuracy of self- and other-judgments has received
little empirical attention.
- Why have personality and accuracy researchers ignored the question of self– other
asymmetries in accuracy?
1) The dearth of research directly comparing self- and other-accuracy makes it
impossible to identify moderators using a bottom-up approach. There are just too few
published studies to look for replicable patterns.
2) The lack of a theoretical model means that the studies that do exist were not designed
to test for moderators.
Self–Other Knowledge Asymmetry (SOKA) Model
- provides a framework to explain and predict self– other asymmetries in accuracy.
- What factors might account for the asymmetry in what the self knows and what others
know about a person?
1) One issue is clearly who the ―other‖ is, and this is discussed below; the term other refers to
all types of informants (e.g., friends, coworkers, family members).
Many models of social perception refer to two kinds of factors: informational and
Human perceivers act as both (1) intuitive scientists and (2) intuitive politicians—
their judgments are influenced by both ―cold‖ information-processing goals (i.e., understanding and predicting the actor’s behavior) and by ―hot‖ motivational goals
(i.e., protecting or enhancing their own selfworth).
The SOKA model is also built on this distinction:
Self-perception should differ from other-perception because of informational
differences in perspective (i.e., the salience of overt vs.covert aspects of a person) an