Simine Vazire, Ph.D., Washington University assistant professor of psychology in Arts and Sciences, has found that the individual is more accurate in assessing one's own internal, or neurotic traits, such as anxiety, while friends are better barometers of intellect-related traits, such as intelligence and creativity, and even friends or strangers are equally adept as our friends and ourselves at spotting the extrovert in us all, a psychology domain known as "extroversion."
"I think that it's important to really question this knee-jerk reaction that we are our own best experts," says Vazire. "Personality is not who you think you are, it's who you are. Some people think by definition that we are the experts on our personality because we get to write the story, but personality is not the story - it's the reality. So, you do get to write your own story about how you think you are, and what you tell people about yourself, but there still is reality out there, and, guess what? Other people are going to see the reality, regardless of what story you believe."
According to the expert, personality is pervasive in many things that we do - clothing choice, bedroom arrangement, Web site and Facebook profiles, for example.
The expert said: "Everything you touch you leave a mark of your personality," she says. "You leave traces unintentionally. You give off hints of your personality that you don't even see yourself."
Vazire's study is published in the February 2010 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.