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FIGURE 4.1. Cronbach's four components of accuracy. Adapted from "Accuracy in Interpersonal Perception: A Social Relations Analysis," by D. A. Kenny and L. Albright, 1987, Psychological Bulletin, 102, p. 391. Copyright 1987 by the American Psychological Association.

FIGURE 4.1. Cronbach's four components of accuracy. Adapted from "Accuracy in Interpersonal Perception: A Social Relations Analysis," by D. A. Kenny and L. Albright, 1987, Psychological Bulletin, 102, p. 391. Copyright 1987 by the American Psychological Association.

which is the general view the informant has of a specific target. The final component of informant judgments is differential accuracy, which refers to what is left when all the other components are controlled for: the correspondence between the judge's rating of each trait for each target and the criterion scores of each trait for each target. Projection, or assumed similarity, another possible component of judgments, results when an informant uses his or her self-concept as a proxy for the target rating. According to Cronbach, only two of these components reflect meaningful accuracy: differential elevation and differential accuracy. Elevation and stereotype accuracy, in contrast, result from the match between the judge's response set and the criteria, whereas projection is viewed as an error of interpersonal perception.

Cronbach's criticism has led to many misunderstandings. It did not call into question the possibility of self-other agreement or consensus and not even the existence of accuracy per se, rather it was concerned with how the accuracy of informant ratings was calculated. Cronbach's critique had tremendous consequences for research in personality and social psychology and directed psychological science to other supposedly less complicated topics like the study of error and cognitive processes in person perception (Funder, 1995, 1999). No one wanted to open a Pandora's box of methodological problems, components, and artifacts, although "a few brave souls continued to work on the topic" (Kenny, 1994, p. 124).

The second wave of accuracy research, beginning in the 1980s, started out on the Brimswikean premise that accurate judgment of real people is possible in real settings. According to Funder (1995, 1999), three approaches to accuracy can be currently distinguished. First, the pragmatic approach views person perception as accurate if it is useful and improves social functioning (Swann, 1984). Second, the constructivist approach as discussed by Kruglanksi (1989) assumes that personality and behavior can never be known for certain, and the best researchers can do is to look for where observers reach consensus. Third, the realistic approach by Funder (1995) relies on critical realism, which maintains that psychological reality does exist, although there may be multiple accesses to it. The following review presents three models of interpersonal perception. David Kenny's two models, the social relations model and the weighted average model, are best characterized as constructivist, whereas David Funder's realistic accuracy model is guided by the realistic approach. Although these models are general approaches to interpersonal perception, this review examines specific implications for informant assessment.

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