A teacher like me? Different approaches to examining personality similarity between teachers and students

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Gina Pancorbo
  • Mieke Decuyper
  • Lisa Kim
  • Jacob A. Laros
  • Loes Abrahams
  • Filip De Fruyt


Publication details

JournalEuropean Journal of Personality
DateAccepted/In press - 8 Apr 2021
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 20 May 2021
Number of pages16
Early online date20/05/21
Original languageEnglish


Research suggests that people tend to like others more if they are similar rather than dissimilar to themselves. Likewise, students may tend to prefer teachers with whom they share similar personality characteristics. To test this hypothesis, we examined the role of personality similarity between students and teachers in predicting how much students liked their teachers. Secondary school students (N = 634) provided self-reports and reported on their teachers’ personality using a Big Five personality scale. Their teachers (N = 31) also provided self-reports. These reports were then used to compute three indices of similarity; i.e. perceptual similarity, actual similarity, and perceptual accuracy which were used to explain teacher liking. Multilevel linear models showed that perceptual similarity (computed as the profile agreement across student self- and teacher-ascribed Big Five traits) had the largest effect on teacher liking. Teachers described as more agreeable and conscientious were liked by their students more. Findings highlight the importance of considering students’ perceptions of personality similarity with their teachers for understanding how students feel “connected” to their teachers and positively interact with them.

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© The Author(s) 2021. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details

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