The convergence of self and informant reports in a large online sample

Anne Zola*, David M. Condon, William Revelle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite their added benefits, informant-reports are largely underutilized in personality research. We demonstrate the feasibility of collecting informant-reports online, where researchers have unprecedented access to large, global populations. Using an entirely free, opt-in procedure tied to an existing personality survey, we collected 1,554 informant-reports for 921 unique targets, in conjunction with over 158,000 self-reports. Informant-reports showed a strong correspondence to self-reported traits at three levels of analysis: among the Big Five domains, the lower-level SPI-27 factors (Condon, 2018), and at the item-scale level. Among the Big Five, self-informant agreement ranged between .63 and .72, except for Openness (.42). Higher informant-ratings of Extraversion were positively associated with all Big Five self-ratings in the direction of social desirability. Across the Big Five and the 27 lower-order traits, agreement was strongest between self-reports of compassion and informant-reports of agreeableness (.74) and weakest between self-reported emotional expressiveness and informant-reported emotional stability (.02). Agreement between informants was roughly equivalent for all of the Big Five traits (.29 to .35) and attractiveness (.37), though agreement between informants for perceived intelligence was non-significant. In addition, we empirically identified the self-report items that best predict what informants say about targets, highlighting the features of self-reported personality that are most readily confirmed by informants. Finally, we discuss group level differences of participants who interacted with the informant-report system at various levels. In general, participants who sought and provided informant reports are more open and agreeable than the general sample, though targets' personality did not affect whether or not invited informants provided ratings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number25983
JournalCollabra: Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 18 2021


  • Informant-reports
  • Online assessment
  • Self-reports

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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