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Concept: Psychoticism


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


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


Sandal, G. M. Bye, H. H. & Pallesen, S. (2012). Personality trait inferences of Turkish immigrant and neutral targets: An experimental study. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 53, 528-533. The study investigated whether personality traits attributed to immigrant targets differ from personality inferences made for a neutral target, and whether trait attributions differ for assimilated and integrated immigrant targets. Participants (n = 340) were randomized to one of three conditions in which they read the same story about a person, but where the person was described as either: (a) an assimilated Turkish immigrant; (b) an integrated Turkish immigrant; or © neutral (no nationality or religious practice indicated). Subsequently, they rated the personality of the described person on the NEO-Five Factor Inventory (observer rating version) and completed the Balanced Inventory of Desirable Responding (Impression Management scale) with reference to themselves. Both immigrant targets were rated as significantly higher on extraversion and lower on neuroticism than the neutral target. The integrated target was rated as more open than the neutral target, and as higher than the assimilated target on neuroticism when controlling for impression management.

Concepts: Psychology, Personality psychology, Neuroticism, Big Five personality traits, Trait theory, Personality traits, 16 Personality Factors, Psychoticism


The relationships between two measures proposed to describe personality pathology, that is the Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-3) and the Personality Inventory for DSM-5 (PID-5), are examined in an undergraduate sample (N = 240). The NEO inventories are general trait measures, also considered relevant to assess disordered personality, whereas the PID-5 measure is specifically designed to assess pathological personality traits, as conceptualized in the DSM-5 proposal. A structural analysis of the 25 PID-5 traits confirmed the factor structure observed in the U.S. derivation sample, with higher order factors of Negative Affectivity, Detachment, Antagonism, Disinhibition, and Psychoticism. A joint factor analysis of, respectively, the NEO domains and their facets with the PID-5 traits showed that general and maladaptive traits are subsumed under an umbrella of five to six major dimensions that can be interpreted from the perspective of the five-factor model or the Personality Psychopathology Five. Implications for the assessment of personality pathology and the construction of models of psychopathology grounded in personality are discussed.

Concepts: Psychology, Personality psychology, Educational psychology, Psychometrics, Factor analysis, Psychiatry, Trait theory, Psychoticism


We examine three cardinal concerns in personality psychology from a lifespan perspective: trait structure, trait stability, and trait mechanisms that account for the predictive utility of traits. We draw on previously published and new findings from the Hawaii Longitudinal Study of Personality and Health, as well as work by others.

Concepts: Psychology, Personality psychology, Cognitive psychology, Sociology, Neuroticism, Big Five personality traits, Trait theory, Psychoticism


This study examined the association between five-factor model personality traits and perceptions of organisational justice. The sample for the study comprised 903 participants (35-50 years old; 523 women) studied in 2007 and 2012. Measures used were the Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Five-Factor Inventory questionnaire and the short organisational justice measure. The results showed that high neuroticism was associated with low distributive, procedural and interactional justice. Furthermore, high agreeableness was associated with high procedural and interactional justice and high openness with high distributive justice. This study suggests that neuroticism, agreeableness and openness are involved in perceptions of organisational justice and that personality should be considered in research and in practices at the workplace.

Concepts: Psychology, Personality psychology, Neuroticism, Big Five personality traits, Trait theory, Personality traits, Psychoticism, Distributive justice


The current meta-analysis investigated the extent to which personality traits changed as a result of intervention, with the primary focus on clinical interventions. We identified 207 studies that had tracked changes in measures of personality traits during interventions, including true experiments and prepost change designs. Interventions were associated with marked changes in personality trait measures over an average time of 24 weeks (e.g., d = .37). Additional analyses showed that the increases replicated across experimental and nonexperimental designs, for nonclinical interventions, and persisted in longitudinal follow-ups of samples beyond the course of intervention. Emotional stability was the primary trait domain showing changes as a result of therapy, followed by extraversion. The type of therapy employed was not strongly associated with the amount of change in personality traits. Patients presenting with anxiety disorders changed the most, and patients being treated for substance use changed the least. The relevance of the results for theory and social policy are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Psychology, Personality psychology, Change, Neuroticism, Big Five personality traits, Trait theory, Personality traits, Psychoticism


Animals that experience situations likely to induce negative emotions show changes in judgment associated with pessimism. Few studies have focused on whether animals express stable differences in pessimism and whether these differences are related to personality traits. The first aim of this study was to explore if dairy calves are consistent over time in making judgments under ambiguous situations. Our second aim was to determine whether individual differences in judgment bias are related to conventional personality traits assessed using four standardized tests (Open field, Novel object, Human reactivity and Social motivation test). We subjected animals to two sessions of judgment bias and personality trait tests at 25 and 50 d of age. Individual differences in judgment bias were consistent over time with some animals persistently making more pessimistic choices compared to others. Two main dimensions of personality (Fearfulness and Sociability), obtained through principal component analysis, were also highly consistent over time. Pessimism was related to fearfulness, with more fearful calves making more pessimistic judgments. We conclude that dairy calves differ in the way they perceive and react to ambiguity and that this relates to individual differences in fearfulness.

Concepts: Psychology, Personality psychology, Principal component analysis, Motivation, Neuroticism, Big Five personality traits, Trait theory, Psychoticism


The defensive peripersonal space represents a “safety margin” advantageous for survival. Its spatial extension and the possible relationship with personality traits have never been investigated. Here, in a population of 15 healthy human participants, we show that the defensive peripersonal space has a sharp boundary, located between 20 and 40 cm from the face, and that within such space there is a thin, “highest-risk area” closest to the face (i.e., an “ultra-near” defensive space). Single-subject analysis revealed clear interindividual differences in the extension of such peripersonal space. These differences are positively related to individual variability in trait anxiety. These findings point to the potential for measuring a range of defensive behaviors in relation to individual levels of anxiety. Such measures will allow developing procedures to test risk assessment abilities, particularly in professions that require reacting quickly to aversive stimuli near the body, such as firemen, policemen, and military officers. This may also lead to possible interventions to improve their performance under pressure.

Concepts: Psychology, Personality psychology, Space, Metaphysics, Neuroticism, Trait theory, Psychoticism, Physical body


In the current climate of migration and globalization, personality characteristics of individuals from different countries have received a growing interest. Previous research has established reliable differences in personality traits across countries. The present study extends this research by examining 30 personality traits in 22 countries, based on an online survey in English with large national samples (NTotal = 130,602). The instrument used was a comprehensive, open-source measure of the Five Factor Model (FFM) (IPIP-NEO-120). We postulated that differences in personality traits between countries would be small, labeling this a Similarities Hypothesis. We found support for this in three stages. First, similarities across countries were observed for model fits for each of the five personality trait structures. Second, within-country sex differences for the five personality traits showed similar patterns across countries. Finally, the overall the contribution to personality traits from countries was less than 2%. In other words, the relationship between a country and an individual’s personality traits, however interesting, are small. We conclude that the most parsimonious explanation for the current and past findings is a cross-country personality Similarities Hypothesis.

Concepts: Scientific method, Psychology, Personality psychology, Neuroticism, Big Five personality traits, Trait theory, 16 Personality Factors, Psychoticism