Value Revelations: Disclosure Is in the Eye of the Beholder

Emily Pronin, John J. Fleming, Mary Steffel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


In interpersonal interactions ranging from job interviews to romantic dates, it is common for people to tell each other about what they care about and value. Six experiments explored the general hypothesis that people view their disclosures about what they value as more revealing of themselves than do others. This effect is demonstrated across a variety of contexts, ranging from the brief and anonymous to the more in-depth and social. A source of it is explored in actors' feeling that their most important values are especially important to them. Studies suggest that this feeling involves actors' sense of the intensity with which they hold their values, as opposed to their beliefs about the uniqueness of those values. Studies also show that actors' tendency to view value disclosures as more revealing than do observers is somewhat specific to value disclosures-that is, actors do not view their relatively off-the-cuff responses (Study 4) or their disclosures of their nonvalues (Study 6) as more revealing. Implications of this research for self-other differences and for interpersonal intimacy are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)795-809
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • actor-observer
  • asymmetric insight
  • intimacy
  • self-disclosure
  • values


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