Psych Building

Riverside Accuracy Project


International Situations Project



The Riverside Accuracy Project (RAP) is a long-term investigation into several important topics relevant to the assessment and perception of human personality.  Funded for almost two decades by the National Institute of Mental Health grant R01-MH42427, the project more recently has gained support from National Science Foundation grants BCS-0642243, BCS-1052638, and BCS-1528131.  At present the lab is working on three main projects:


1. Situational Assessment.  Our principal current research concerns the assessment of the psychologically important aspects of situations.  For a recently published overview, click here.  We have developed the Riverside Situational Q-sort (RSQ) and have used this instrument to assess situations experienced by college students in daily life, and the correlates among elements of situations, personality, and behavior.  Articles introducing and using this instrument have been published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Sherman, Nave & Funder, 2010) and the Journal of Research in Personality (Sherman, Nave & Funder, 2012, 2013).  Further work in progress addresses "construal," the ways different people may perceive the same situation.  For the grant proposal to NSF that describes the purpose and procedures of our study on "situational construal," click here.

Another facet of this research explores the implications of situations categorized on the basis of their relevance to evolutionary theory.

The International Situations Project.  Our latest project focuses on situational assessment across cultures (along with collaborators in Japan, China, Italy and many other countries). For the first paper from the international project, reporting some preliminary data from the US and Japan, click here.  For our latest paper, reporting comparisons of situational experience across 20 countries, click here.  For the recently-funded grant proposal for the "International Situations Project"  that aims to expand this project to more countries and wider samples around the world, click here.


2. Accuracy of Personality Judgment.  This research program, which has been running for the longest time (and is the basis of the original name of our lab) is based on the Realistic Accuracy Model (Funder, 1995, 1999, 2012).  Theoretically, the model proposes that accurate personality judgment requires a four-stage process in which (1) relevant information is emitted by the target which (2) becomes available to the judge, who then (3) detects this information and (4) utilizes it correctly.  Empirically, four moderator variables make accuracy more or less likely, including properties of (1) the judge (e.g., judgmental ability), (2) the target (e.g., judgability), (3) the trait being judged (e.g., visibility), and (4) the information upon which the judgment is based (e.g., its quantity or quality).  For a recent summary of this research, click here.

Our lab has gathered three large data sets over the years.  Each includes investigations of approximately 200 participants.  Our data include self-reports of personality, peer descriptions of personality, life history interviews and measurements of behavior and life outcomes.  Research using these data is ongoing, including recent studies of the personality correlates of language use in a life history interview (Fast & Funder, 2008, 2010).


3. Behavioral Correlates of Personality and Health over Time. A project initiated in our lab investigated the behavioral correlates of personality as assessed decades earlier, along with contemporaneous measures of personality and health.  This project is in collaboration with Lew Goldberg and Sarah Hampson of the Oregon Research Institute.  We used the Riverside Behavioral Q-sort (RBQ) to assess the behavior of participants in a personality diagnostic interview.  Other information available on these participants included personality judgments made of them by their teachers decades earlier, and results of a recent, comprehensive health assessment.  An article reporting findings from this project was published in Social Psychological and Personality Science (Nave, Sherman, Funder, Hampson & Goldberg, 2010). The project is now located in Chris Nave's laboratory at Rutgers University, Camden.  For information on current activity, click here.


UCR Undergraduates:  Interested in working in our lab for academic credit?  For the application, click here.





We are pleased to provide these research resources.  

1. Revised Behavioral Q-sort.  The Riverside Behavioral Q-sort has been revised for more general use, outside of the laboratory contexts in which it has been employed to date.

2. Riverside Situational Q-sort.  We are in the process of developing and testing a Q-sort for the psychological description of situations.

3. Q-sorter program.  We have developed a free, downloadable program for completing Q-sorts on the computer, thus making Q-sort descriptions easier to complete and their data entry more accurate.  We also include files including the behavioral and situational Q-sorts described above, along with the revised California Q-sort for the description of personality.

If you are interested in any of these, please go to our Qsort Resources Page.

4. Program to conduct randomization tests.  This program, written by Ryne Sherman in the R programming language, conducts a randomization test to evaluate (a) the number of significant correlations between a single variable and a large number of other variables, (b) the number of significant correlations between two large sets of variables, and (c) the average size of a large number of effects. Link

The relevant article is:
Sherman, R.A., & Funder, D.C. (2009). Evaluating correlations in studies of personality and behavior: Beyond the number of significant findings to be expected by chance. Journal of Research in Personality, 43, 1053-1063.


The material described in these web pages is based, part, upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants No. BCS-06422243, BCS-1052638, and BCS-1528131. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the individual researchers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.



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