Category: Personality

Extraverts are considered to be poorer listeners

By Emma Young

Extraverts are hugely sociable — they really care about their relationships, and possess outstanding social skills. Well, that’s how extraverts are generally portrayed. But, according to new work, that’s not exactly how other people see them. In a series of studies reported in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Francis J. Flynn at Stanford University, US and colleagues consistently found that more extraverted people are considered to be poorer listeners. Their research also reveals a likely reason why.

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Students with Dark Triad traits don’t feel responsible for their own learning, making them more likely to cheat

By Emma Young

Plagiarism and cheating are persistent problems in higher education, note the authors of a new paper in Personality and Individual Differences. Better ways of combatting academic misconduct are clearly needed. And in their paper, Guy J. Curtis at the University of Western Australia and colleagues report that they’ve found one: encouraging students to take personal responsibility for their own learning.

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Here are the personality traits of the self-made millionaire

By Matthew Warren

“Let me tell you about the very rich,” wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald in The Rich Boy. “They are different from you and me.”

Fitzgerald’s narrator was referring to the way wealth can shape people’s character — but a new study suggests that people with particular personalities may also be more likely to become wealthy in the first place.

Writing in Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, the team finds that millionaires have a unique pattern of personality traits compared to the rest of us — and this is particularly true for millionaires who made their wealth on their own.

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We try to avoid people with these stereotypically boring traits

By Matthew Warren

Picture a boring person in your mind. What are they like? If you’re imagining someone who loves watching TV, has no sense of humour, and works in finance, your stereotype of a boring person is similar to those described in a recent study in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. But whether or not these kinds of stereotypes are accurate, the researchers behind the paper find that they can have damaging social implications: people have a low opinion of those with “boring” traits, and will try to actively avoid them.

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Here are the personality traits shared by famous psychopaths

By Emma Young

What is psychopathy? For a concept that gets endless attention, there’s surprisingly little agreement. Various models have been put forward over the years. Robert Hare’s Psychopathy Checklist – Revised has been particularly influential. But it, too, has been questioned, with debate centring on the nature of the fundamental traits that together make someone a psychopath.

In a bid for clarity, Cristina Crego at Longwood University and Thomas A. Widiger at the University of Kentucky decided to look for shared traits in six people, real and fictional, who have been identified as psychopathic. They present their work in a new paper in Personality Disorders: Theory, Research and Treatment. Their list includes a few names that might be come as a surprise. But this turned out to be an advantage — the pair feel that it drew them closer to understanding which are the core traits of psychopathy, and which are red herrings.

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Understanding bad character: Research into the Dark Triad, digested

By Emma Young

Twenty years ago, two Canadian psychologists published a paper that instantly captured the imagination of researchers — and reporters. Del Paulhus and Kevin Williams argued that a “Dark Triad” of “overlapping but distinct” toxic traits — subclinical psychopathy, Machiavellianism and narcissism — explained much of what we might otherwise call a “bad” character. Research into the Dark Triad shows no signs of slowing. But the concept is being challenged. And other psychologists are proposing different ways to get to grips with the darker side of human nature…

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Our mental self-portraits contain clues about our personalities

By Emma Young

If I ask you to picture your face and body in your mind, what do you see? And how do your beliefs and attitudes about your self — including your personality and your self-esteem — influence these mental self-images? Completely fascinating answers to these questions have now been reported in a new paper in Psychological Science. The findings are important not just for understanding how we all see ourselves, but could also be useful for studies into body image disorders.

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People behave more sadistically when they’re bored

By Emma Young

Sadism — harming others for pleasure — is often viewed as a “dark” personality trait, alongside narcissism, say, or psychopathy. Research exploring just what can bring out someone’s sadistic tendencies has found that even viewing images of injuries can do it. But now a new paper reveals a factor that the researchers conclude has a “crucial but overlooked” role in fostering sadistic behaviour: simple boredom.

We already know that bored people will give themselves electric shocks to alleviate their under-stimulation. This new work suggests that a willingness to harm when there’s nothing else to do extends to hurting other people, too — and this was true even for those who’d scored low on a general sadism scale. It’s not exactly an uplifting message about humanity. But, the authors argue, it could lead to new approaches to preventing sadism in schools, the military and other settings.

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Conservatives Are More Likely To Share Fake News — But Only If They Are Low In Conscientiousness

By Emma Young

Why do people share fake news? All kinds of studies have looked into what encourages it, and which personal attributes play a role. As the authors of a new paper in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General point out, multiple studies have found that political conservatives are relatively more likely to disseminate false news than those on the political left. However, their new work finds that this is an over-simplification — that the link is “largely driven” by conservatives who are also low in conscientiousness. This is an important finding for a few reasons. On the upside, it’s a far less politically polarising message. On the downside, this group does not seem to be receptive to the main identified way of stopping fake news from spreading.

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Striving For Perfection, Rather Than Excellence, Can Kill Creativity

By Emily Reynolds

Perfectionism can be a useful trait: striving always to do better, perfectionists may be more likely to thrive academically or accomplish other achievements. But it comes with downsides, too: links with suicidal ideation, burnout, and reduced engagement at work.

One common critique of perfectionism is that it kills creativity, and it’s this question Jean-Christophe Goulet-Pelletier and team from the University of Ottawa, Ontario, explore in a paper in the British Journal of Psychology. They find that shooting for greatness, rather than perfection, can lead to higher creativity and increased openness to experience.

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