The described models, the SRM, the WAM, and the RAM, sometimes complement and sometimes compete with each other. The models are more or less based on Brunswik's approach and share the assumption that interpersonal perception should be observed in real settings. Each of them has contributed to the revival of interpersonal perception research and has yielded important, potentially useful insights when using informant assessment in research. The SRM is a statistical model that enables data to be analyzed from round-robin designs (or mixed block designs) and allows the decomposition of the variance of judgments into components often related to the target, the trait, and the informant. The SRM answers a wide range of questions concerning interpersonal perception, only some of which address accuracy, consensus, and self-other agreement. In contrast, the WAM focuses on theoretical and psychological rather than methodological and statistical issues. Moreover, the WAM makes predictions about the sources of variance in perceiver, target, and relationship effects, which in turn can be analyzed using the SRM, but also with other, more traditional methods.
The RAM and the SRM differ in three ways (Funder, 1995). First, the central concern of the RAM is informant accuracy, whereas the SRM studies accuracy as only one among other issues in interpersonal perception. Second, the RAM does not necessarily require the use of round-robin designs, which indeed pose inconveniences. Third, and most important, it is difficult with the SRM to study moderator effects in interpersonal perception, whereas moderators are a central concern of the
RAM. The central point of divergence between the RAM and the WAM pertains to a constructivist versus a realistic approach to informant assessment: Whereas the WAM's central dependent variable is informant consensus, the RAM primarily deals with informant accuracy. As Funder (1995, p. 666) put it, "In the WAM, accuracy is one variable that affects agreement. In the RAM, agreement is one indicator of accuracy." Another more central point of divergence is that both SRM and WAM are nomothetic approaches to interpersonal perception that do not address the question of individual differences in informant accuracy, whereas the RAM provides information about these individual differences.
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