Can people accurately perceive who is authentic? Laypeople believe they can tell who is authentic, and they report that authenticity is an important attribute in others (Studies 1a and 1b; N = 369). However, when we directly tested the accuracy of perceived authenticity, we found no significant correlation between self- and other-rated authenticity in two cohorts of adult students in randomly assigned teams (Studies 2 and 3; 4,040 self-other observations). In addition, we found that perceived authenticity was biased in two ways: (a) Other-rated authenticity showed a positivity bias compared with self-ratings, and (b) other-rated authenticity was biased by the rater's own authenticity. In Study 3, we also investigated authenticity meta-perceptions; although people expect their authenticity to be accurately perceived by others, their meta-perceptions did not correlate with other-rated authenticity. That is, beliefs about the visibility of one's authenticity are similarly not accurate. Overall, we found no evidence that people can accurately identify who is authentic.
Keywords: authenticity; individual differences; open data; open materials; perception; social cognition.