“How positively you see others is linked to how happy, kind-hearted and emotionally stable you are”

According to new research by a Wake Forest University psychology professor, there may be a relationship between a person’s tendency to describe others either negatively or positively and the characteristics that the person possesses.

Researchers found that a person who has a higher tendency to describe others in positive terms indicates the positivity of the person’s own personality traits. There are particularly strong associations between judging others positively and how enthusiastic, happy, kind-hearted, courteous, emotionally stable and capable the person describes oneself and is described by others. “Seeing others positively reveals our own positive traits,” Wood says. The study also found that how positively you see other people shows how satisfied you are with your own life, and how much you are liked by others.

The strong association exists for negative perceptions of others and one’s characteristics as well. Researchers found that a tendency to perceive others negatively is linked to higher levels of narcissism and antisocial behavior. A huge suite of negative personality traits are associated with the tendency to view others negatively. “The simple tendency to see people negatively indicates a greater likelihood of depression and various personality disorders.”

Given that negative perceptions of others may underlie several personality disorders, finding techniques to get people to see others more positively could promote the cessation of behavior patterns associated with several different personality disorders simultaneously, Wood says.


Read more about what your perceptions of others may say about you here