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An Interpersonal Approach to Social Preference: Examining Patterns and Influences of Liking and Being Bothered by Interpersonal Behaviors of Others

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Personality disorders are rooted in maladaptive interpersonal behaviors. Previously, researchers have assessed interpersonal behaviors using self-ratings of one's own behaviors and third-person ratings of dyadic interactions. Few studies have examined individuals' perceptions of others' interpersonal behaviors. Using a sample of 470 undergraduate students, the authors examined patterns of interpersonal perception as well as influences of these patterns on psychological functioning. Findings showed that people tend to like interpersonal behaviors that are similar to their own and become bothered by behaviors that are the opposite of their own. Such a pattern is particularly characteristic on the warmth dimension and is consistent across different levels of closeness of the relationship. The authors also found small but significant effects of interpersonal perception on personality and general psychological functioning, above and beyond effects of individuals' own interpersonal traits. Such findings highlight the importance of including perceptions of others in investigating interpersonal dynamics when understanding personality disorders.


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