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Chapter 14 - Psychological Assessment and Individual Differences

Psychology Around the Globe

Personality in Pictures

When we meet new people, we don't have time to give them the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. We must make judgments about what people are like often just by looking at them. How well does this method work when you are meeting someone from another country?

Albright et al. (1997) had groups of college students in China and the United States rate strangers from both countries on the "Big Five" personality traits, and on external traits like attractiveness and how neatly dressed they were. Students judged other students from their own countries in person, and looked at foreign students' photographs. Within each group, students consistently rated an individual face as having the same personality. There were some differences between the Chinese and U.S. groups, though. For example, Chinese students judged attractive people as being intelligent, while Americans thought that attractive people were more extroverted than the norm. However, there was a high level of agreement across groups on two factors: both Chinese and U.S. students rated faces as showing similar levels of extroversion and agreeableness. Of course, the people who were thought to be most extroverted and agreeable wore smiles, a facial expression that is understood around the world.

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