If you're having a hard time reading someone, apparently asking them one particular question can reveal a whole lot about their personality.

So the next time you're left wondering whether someone you know is secretly a terrible person, ask them what they think about someone else.

According to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, this will actually reveal something about their own personality because people tend to see their own traits in other people.

So a kind person will probably see others as kind too, and a selfish person will see others as selfish.

Dr Dustin Wood, one of the study’s authors, said:

A huge suite of negative personality traits are associated with viewing others negatively.

The simple tendency to see people negatively indicates a greater likelihood of depression and various personality disorders.

As part of the study, participants were asked to judge the characteristics of three others, both positively and negatively.

The more positively they judged others, the happier and more emotionally stable the participants turned out to be.

On the other hand, the participants who judged others negatively tended to be narcissistic, with higher levels of anti-social behaviour.

The study explained:

…  Although narcissists may perceive others as being uninteresting or worthless, this may not reflect how they see themselves.

Similarly, individuals displaying behaviors typical of paranoid personality disorder may believe that others are malevolent and untrustworthy, even though they may not see themselves that way.

So maybe think twice the next time you want to say something mean...

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