Category: Personality

Simply Imagining Other People Can Change Our Own Sense Of Self

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By Emma Young

“The sense of self is a hallmark of human experience. Each of us maintains a constellation of personal memories and personality traits that collectively define ‘who we really are'”.

So begins a new paper, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, which reveals that who you “are” can easily be manipulated. Just imagining somebody else can alter all kinds of aspects of how you see yourself, even including your personality and memories.

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The Stereotype Of The Narcissistic Only Child Is Widespread — But It’s Wrong

Funny naughty child in princess crown standing with hands crossed on chest

By Emily Reynolds

Wherever you fall in a group of siblings, there are plenty of stereotypes about the sort of person you are or will turn out to be. Oldest of the bunch? You’ll be bossy, then. Youngest? Spoilt. Only child? Selfish and narcissistic, of course.

But this last stereotype, at least, can now be put to bed. That’s thanks to new research published in Social Psychological and Personality Science in which Michael Dufner from the University of Leipzig and colleagues found that the cliché, though widespread, is fundamentally inaccurate.

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Politicians Who Win Elections Have Subtle Personality Differences Compared To Their Unsuccessful Rivals

Mayoral candidate addresses supporters at rally

By Matthew Warren

Politicians seem to be a different breed from the rest of us. A 2017 study, for instance, found that American state politicians differed from the general public on each of the “Big Five” personality traits. But this kind of research has focussed on people who have already been successfully elected. What about failed politicians? Do those who lose elections show the same personality profile — or are there particular traits that separate the winners from the losers?

According to a new study on Canadian political candidates, there are. Successful candidates scored lower on one particular personality trait, openness to experience, the researchers report in Personality and Individual Differences. However, it seems too early to say whether this effect generalises to politicians elsewhere in the world.

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Your Level Of “Planfulness” Could Determine How Often You Visit The Gym

Cycling Class at the Gym

By Matthew Warren

When a gym recently opened up near my house, I was determined to go regularly and make the most of the facilities. And I did — for about a month. But gradually, my visits became fewer and further between, until I realised I was paying for a bunch of machines and slabs of metal that I hadn’t touched in weeks. Guiltily, I cancelled my membership.

But perhaps I have my personality to blame. A new study tracking gym users has honed in one key factor that is related to how often they visit: their “planfulness”. This aspect of our personality, say the researchers, could be “uniquely useful” for predicting a range of goal-directed behaviours.

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Instagrammers Who Post Lots Of Selfies Are Judged As Less Likeable And More Insecure

Funny nerdy athlete showing off while taking a selfie in a gym.

By Emma Young

What kind of person posts a lot of selfies on their Instagram account? It has been suggested that such people are more narcissistic, but the research results on this are inconclusive. However, a new study, published in the Journal of Research in Personality, has found that whatever the actual personality traits of those who post plenty of selfies, other people have a clear opinion about them — and it’s not good.

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“Politically Incorrect” Speakers Are Seen As More Authentic — Especially If The Audience Already Shares Their Views

Vector illustration of a businessman or politician speaking to a large crowd of people

By Emma Young

“I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct.”

So said then-candidate Donald J Trump during a US presidential debate in 2015. Trump may have strong feelings on the matter, but he’s not alone. “Dozens of articles are written about political correctness every month in [US-based] media outlets spanning the political spectrum,” note the authors of a new paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. However, surprisingly little psychological research has looked at the consequences of using politically incorrect versus correct language — does it make a real difference to a listener or reader’s perceptions of that person, and if so, in what way?

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How People Judge Your Personality Based On Your Name

Blue Collar,Name Tags,Tags,badges,identificarion,workers,employment,By Matthew Warren

Extraversion, thy name is Katie. And Jack. And Carter. But not, it turns out, Joanna, Owen, or Lauren: these individuals instead embody different traits, like emotionality and agreeableness.

At least, that’s how people rated the personalities of those names in a recent paper published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. According to the study, we associate the sounds in names with certain traits: names containing k and t sounds are judged as having quite different profiles than those with the more resonant n or l sounds. It will come as no surprise, however, that in the real world Katies are not actually any more likely to be extraverted than Laurens. Continue reading “How People Judge Your Personality Based On Your Name”

Further Evidence That Acting Like An Extravert Can Boost Wellbeing

Two women peeking behind mask on wallpaper background

By Matthew Warren

Researchers have long known that people who are more extraverted tend to be happier, leading some to suggest that encouraging extraverted behaviour could improve wellbeing. Last year we reported on the first trial of such an intervention, which found that acting like an extravert for a week led to an increase in positive emotions in certain people. Now a second study appears to have replicated that result — and shown that behaving like an introvert may also reduce wellbeing.

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Decades-Long Surveys Suggest The “Deleterious Effects of Smoking May Extend to Detrimental Personality Changes”

GettyImages-157197321.jpgBy Christian Jarrett

There is increasing recognition that while our personality traits are stable enough to shape our lives profoundly, they are also partly malleable, so that our choices and experiences can feedback and influence the kind of people we become. A new study in the Journal of Research in Personality shines a light on a highly consequential behaviour that captures this dynamic – smoking cigarettes.

The results add “… to existing knowledge on the implications of smoking by showing that this behaviour is also likely to alter individuals’ characteristic ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving over time,” the researchers said.

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Teenagers Define Themselves Mostly In Terms Of Their Positive Traits; Adults More In Terms Of Their Social Roles

GettyImages-184374286.jpgBy Christian Jarrett

Write down the unfinished statement “I am …” twenty times. Now think to yourself “Who am I?” and complete as many of the “I am …” statements as you can in the next five minutes or less.

This is the Twenty Statements Test and it’s designed to assess how we see ourselves – our “self-concept”. For their new paper in the journal Memory, a team at the University of Reading, led by Emily Hards, gave this test to 822 teenagers (aged 13-18) from three schools in England, with the additional instruction “not to think too much about the responses and not to worry about the order/importance of the statements”.

While it’s widely recognised that adolescence is a crucial period for the establishment of our sense of self, little is actually known about how teenagers’ generally see themselves. Indeed, this is the first time that teenagers’ own self-generated descriptions of themselves (what the researchers call their “self-images”) have been gathered in a systematic way.

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