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Concept: Openness to experience

91

Geek culture is a subculture of enthusiasts that is traditionally associated with obscure media (Japanese animation, science fiction, video games, etc.). However, geek culture is becoming increasingly mainstream; for example, in the past year alone, Dragon*Con, a major Geek convention in Atlanta, Georgia, attracted an attendance of over 57,000 members. The present article uses an individual differences approach to examine three theoretical accounts of geek culture. Seven studies (N = 2354) develop the Geek Culture Engagement Scale (GCES) to quantify geek engagement and assess its relationships to theoretically relevant personality and individual differences variables. These studies present evidence that individuals may engage in geek culture in order to maintain narcissistic self-views (the great fantasy migration hypothesis), to fulfill belongingness needs (the belongingness hypothesis), and to satisfy needs for creative expression (the need for engagement hypothesis). Geek engagement is found to be associated with elevated grandiose narcissism, extraversion, openness to experience, depression, and subjective well-being across multiple samples. These data lay the groundwork for further exploration of geek culture as well as provide a foundation for examining other forms of subculture participation.

Concepts: Cultural studies, Personality psychology, Popular culture, Individualism, Openness to experience

67

NUMEROUS STUDIES HAVE DOCUMENTED THE PHENOMENON OF PHONETIC IMITATION: the process by which the production patterns of an individual become more similar on some phonetic or acoustic dimension to those of her interlocutor. Though social factors have been suggested as a motivator for imitation, few studies has established a tight connection between language-external factors and a speaker’s likelihood to imitate. The present study investigated the phenomenon of phonetic imitation using a within-subject design embedded in an individual-differences framework. Participants were administered a phonetic imitation task, which included two speech production tasks separated by a perceptual learning task, and a battery of measures assessing traits associated with Autism-Spectrum Condition, working memory, and personality. To examine the effects of subjective attitude on phonetic imitation, participants were randomly assigned to four experimental conditions, where the perceived sexual orientation of the narrator (homosexual vs. heterosexual) and the outcome (positive vs. negative) of the story depicted in the exposure materials differed. The extent of phonetic imitation by an individual is significantly modulated by the story outcome, as well as by the participant’s subjective attitude toward the model talker, the participant’s personality trait of openness and the autistic-like trait associated with attention switching.

Concepts: Openness to experience, Trait theory, Mimicry, Homosexuality, Personality psychology, Perception, Sexual orientation, Psychology

57

Human awareness is highly limited, which is vividly demonstrated by the phenomenon that unexpected objects go unnoticed when attention is focused elsewhere (inattentional blindness). Typically, some people fail to notice unexpected objects while others detect them instantaneously. Whether this pattern reflects stable individual differences is unclear to date. In particular, hardly anything is known about the influence of personality on the likelihood of inattentional blindness. To fill this empirical gap, we examined the role of multiple personality factors, namely the Big Five, BIS/BAS, absorption, achievement motivation, and schizotypy, in these failures of awareness. In a large-scale sample (N = 554), susceptibility to inattentional blindness was associated with a low level of openness to experience and marginally with a low level of achievement motivation. However, in a multiple regression analysis, only openness emerged as an independent, negative predictor. This suggests that the general tendency to be open to experience extends to the domain of perception. Our results complement earlier work on the possible link between inattentional blindness and personality by demonstrating, for the first time, that failures to consciously perceive unexpected objects reflect individual differences on a fundamental dimension of personality.

Concepts: Trait theory, Mind, Personality psychology, Cognition, Psychology, Big Five personality traits, Openness to experience, Regression analysis

52

Previous research has found that most people want to change their personality traits. But can people actually change their personalities just because they want to? To answer this question, we conducted 2, 16-week intensive longitudinal randomized experiments. Across both studies, people who expressed goals to increase with respect to any Big Five personality trait at Time 1 tended to experience actual increases in their self-reports of that trait-as well as trait-relevant daily behavior-over the subsequent 16 weeks. Furthermore, we tested 2 randomized interventions designed to help participants attain desired trait changes. Although 1 of the interventions was inefficacious, a second intervention that trained participants to generate implementation intentions catalyzed their ability to attain trait changes. We also tested several theoretical processes through which volitional changes might occur. These studies suggest that people may be able to change their self-reported personality traits through volitional means, and represent a first step toward understanding the processes that enable people to do so. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Openness to experience, Personality traits, Psychoticism, Neuroticism, Psychology, Trait theory, Big Five personality traits, Personality psychology

41

Studies in cognitive psychology showed that personality (openness to experience, thin boundaries, absorption), creativity, nocturnal awakenings, and attitude toward dreams are significantly related to dream recall frequency (DRF). These results suggest the possibility of neurophysiological trait differences between subjects with high and low DRF. To test this hypothesis we compared sleep characteristics and alpha reactivity to sounds in subjects with high and low DRF using polysomnographic recordings and electroencephalography (EEG). We acquired EEG from 21 channels in 36 healthy subjects while they were presented with a passive auditory oddball paradigm (frequent standard tones, rare deviant tones and very rare first names) during wakefulness and sleep (intensity, 50 dB above the subject’s hearing level). Subjects were selected as High-recallers (HR, DRF = 4.42 ± 0.25 SEM, dream recalls per week) and Low-recallers (LR, DRF = 0.25 ± 0.02) using a questionnaire and an interview on sleep and dream habits. Despite the disturbing setup, the subjects' quality of sleep was generally preserved. First names induced a more sustained decrease in alpha activity in HR than in LR at Pz (1000-1200 ms) during wakefulness, but no group difference was found in REM sleep. The current dominant hypothesis proposes that alpha rhythms would be involved in the active inhibition of the brain regions not involved in the ongoing brain operation. According to this hypothesis, a more sustained alpha decrease in HR would reflect a longer release of inhibition, suggesting a deeper processing of complex sounds than in LR during wakefulness. A possibility to explain the absence of group difference during sleep is that increase in alpha power in HR may have resulted in awakenings. Our results support this hypothesis since HR experienced more intra sleep wakefulness than LR (30 ± 4 vs. 14 ± 4 min). As a whole our results support the hypothesis of neurophysiological trait differences in high and low-recallers.

Concepts: Rapid eye movement sleep, Neuroscience, Trait theory, Openness to experience, Brain, Electroencephalography, Sleep, Psychology

31

Personality is influenced by genetic and environmental factors and associated with mental health. However, the underlying genetic determinants are largely unknown. We identified six genetic loci, including five novel loci, significantly associated with personality traits in a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (N = 123,132-260,861). Of these genome-wide significant loci, extraversion was associated with variants in WSCD2 and near PCDH15, and neuroticism with variants on chromosome 8p23.1 and in L3MBTL2. We performed a principal component analysis to extract major dimensions underlying genetic variations among five personality traits and six psychiatric disorders (N = 5,422-18,759). The first genetic dimension separated personality traits and psychiatric disorders, except that neuroticism and openness to experience were clustered with the disorders. High genetic correlations were found between extraversion and attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and between openness and schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The second genetic dimension was closely aligned with extraversion-introversion and grouped neuroticism with internalizing psychopathology (e.g., depression or anxiety).

Concepts: Openness to experience, Schizophrenia, Genetics, Psychiatry, Big Five personality traits, Trait theory, Mental disorder, Psychology

29

Personality is thought to affect obesity risk but before such information can be incorporated into prevention and intervention plans, robust and converging evidence concerning the most relevant personality traits is needed. We performed a meta-analysis based on individual-participant data from nine cohort studies to examine whether broad-level personality traits predict the development and persistence of obesity (n = 78,931 men and women; mean age 50 years). Personality was assessed using inventories of the Five-Factor Model (extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience). High conscientiousness - reflecting high self-control, orderliness and adherence to social norms - was associated with lower obesity risk across studies (pooled odds ratio [OR] = 0.84; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.80-0.88 per 1 standard deviation increment in conscientiousness). Over a mean follow-up of 5.4 years, conscientiousness predicted lower obesity risk in initially non-obese individuals (OR = 0.88, 95% CI = 0.85-0.92; n = 33,981) and was associated with greater likelihood of reversion to non-obese among initially obese individuals (OR = 1.08, 95% CI = 1.01-1.14; n = 9,657). Other personality traits were not associated with obesity in the pooled analysis, and there was substantial heterogeneity in the associations between studies. The findings indicate that conscientiousness may be the only broad-level personality trait of the Five-Factor Model that is consistently associated with obesity across populations.

Concepts: Psychoticism, Psychology, Neuroticism, Personality psychology, Personality traits, Openness to experience, Big Five personality traits, Trait theory

28

The present cross-sectional study investigated age and gender differences in motivational manifestations of the Big Five in a large German-speaking Internet sample (N = 19,022). Participants ranging in age from 16 to 60 years completed the Five Individual Reaction Norms Inventory (FIRNI; Denissen & Penke, 2008a), and two traditional Big Five measures. Age differences were found suggesting that mean levels of neuroticism and extraversion are negatively associated with age, whereas agreeableness and conscientiousness are positively associated. Openness to experience demonstrated a curvilinear association with age, with the highest mean levels in midlife. Gender differences were found suggesting that women, on average, have higher levels of neuroticism, extraversion, and agreeableness, while men are more open to experience. Neither the main effect of gender nor Age × Gender interactions were significant in the case of conscientiousness. In comparison to the 2 traditional Big Five measures, age differences in the motivational manifestations of the Big Five as assessed by the FIRNI were more pronounced, which might be explained by the greater developmental plasticity of flexible motivational processes or the intraindividual phrasing of the items of the FIRNI, compared to the kinds of behavioral descriptions that are emphasized in traditional Big Five items. The further study of such motivational processes might contribute to a better understanding of personality development. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2013 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Sociology, Human behavior, Personality psychology, Psychology, Personality traits, Openness to experience, Trait theory, Big Five personality traits

28

Stable personality traits have long been presumed to have biological substrates, although the evidence relating personality to biological stress reactivity is inconclusive. The present study examined, in a large middle aged cohort (N = 352), the relationship between key personality traits and both cortisol and cardiovascular reactions to acute psychological stress. Salivary cortisol and cardiovascular activity were measured at rest and in response to a psychological stress protocol comprising 5-minutes each of a Stroop task, mirror tracing, and a speech task. Participants subsequently completed the Big Five Inventory to assess neuroticism, agreeableness, openness to experience, extraversion, and conscientiousness. Those with higher neuroticism scores exhibited smaller cortisol and cardiovascular stress reactions, whereas participants who were less agreeable and less open had smaller cortisol and cardiac reactions to stress. These associations remained statistically significant following adjustment for a range of potential confounding variables. Thus, a negative personality disposition would appear to be linked to diminished stress reactivity. These findings further support a growing body of evidence which suggests that blunted stress reactivity may be maladaptive.

Concepts: Agreeableness, Psychology, Neuroticism, Openness to experience, Personality psychology, Personality traits, Trait theory, Big Five personality traits

27

Background and Aims: Both personality changes and behavioural and psychological symptoms (BPS) may be associated with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in later life and help identify incipient dementia. We wished to investigate the links between personality and BPS in MCI. Method: We studied premorbid personality traits as estimated 5 years back and their changes in 83 control subjects and 52 MCI patients using the revised NEO Personality Inventory for the Five-Factor Model completed by a proxy. Information on BPS was obtained using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI). Analyses were controlled for current depression and anxiety. Results: Premorbid neuroticism and openness to experience were associated with the total NPI score. The changes in neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experiences, and conscientiousness were associated with apathy and affective symptoms. Conclusions: Personality changes and BPS occur in MCI. The occurrence of affective BPS and apathy is associated with both premorbid personality traits and their changes.

Concepts: Personality traits, Alzheimer's disease, Neuroticism, Openness to experience, Personality psychology, Trait theory, Psychology, Big Five personality traits