Here are 6 signs your personality is so strong it’s intimidating others


You know the saying, “don’t judge a book by the cover”, but when it comes to sizing people up, first impressions can be hard to overcome.

For people with strong personality types, like those who have been branded “alphas”, it can be difficult for people to get close to them. Not because they are hard to get close to, but because of the way they come off when you first meet them.

Often thought to be overbearing and aggressive, alpha personalities have a lot more going on beneath the surface that we realize.

What’s more, many alphas don’t realize their personalities are actually making others feel uncomfortable or intimidated.

Here are 6 signs that your alpha personality is intimidating others.

1) You Always Say What’s on Your Mind

While people say they want to hear the truth, it can be hard to hear when someone is actually giving it to you. Alphas are known for their “straight to the point” personality, and sometimes their bark is worse than their bite.

strong personality is intimidating quote

2) You Are Wise Beyond Your Years

While alpha personality types are often very outgoing and extroverted, they also do a great deal of introspective reflecting and know themselves well.

This can make others uncomfortable when they realize you know your stuff, and can figure things out faster, better, and in a more efficient way than other personality types.



alpha personality is intimidating quote

3) You See Solutions Where Others See Only Problems

While everyone else is running around like chickens with their heads cut off worrying about the world’s end, you are over there getting things done.

You can see a problem from a 30,000 foot level and know the path to success within minutes.

4) Your Tolerance for Ignorance is Non-existent

Because you say what you think and mean what you say, you expect people to do the same. This means that people who are ignorant don’t stand a chance with you. Even if they are being ignorant without purpose.

You’ll call them on their crap and expect them to change their ways if they want to enjoy the pleasure of your company.



5) You Love New Things

Alpha personality types have a strong desire to try new things. Their confidence enables them to try and fail repeatedly without being knocked down. This is why they love first dates.

This also means that they are more likely to be single, adventure alone, travel the world by themselves, and enjoy taking risks. This can be a lot for people to process and can result in people keeping their distance from alphas.

6) You Cut to the Chase

Strong personalities exert a lot of energy on moving their lives forward, which means that they don’t have time for small talk. They know what is important to them and they don’t waste time doing things that aren’t on that list. So if you find yourself face to face with an alpha personality, don’t take offense to their standoffish ways. That’s just who they are.

People who like to be alone have these 6 special personality traits


In terms of our personalities and how we approach others, we are often placed in one of two categories:

Introvert or Extrovert.

Is it possible to be a little bit of both? Have you ever wondered what qualities specifically make up each and what they indicate?

In this article we reveal what it means to be one of those fascinating people who loves to spend time alone and challenge the perceptions that they’re lonely, depressed, and full of anxiety.

Do you have a friend who would rather stay in over shared cups of tea and pass up the Music Festival of the year? Do you enjoy your own time so much that you’ll travel alone, go to dinner and have a glass of wine for one, as well as catch the occasional film with nobody by your side? If so, I am right there with you, because I do all of the above, but the problem is…

People who love to spend time alone have to explain themselves, as if it goes against a societal expectation of what’s normal and what’s not.

Here are some great qualities of people who like to spend time alone:

1. They’re Extremely Loyal

They don’t very often have a wide social circle and if they do, you won’t find them out every night of the week with large groups, lining up for the hottest club opening. They instead seek out meaningful and trustworthy friends who they feel comfortable to welcome into their space and share details of their life with. If you have a friend who likes to spend time alone, you can guarantee that this person will be there for you through thick and thin.

2. Surprise! They’re Open to New Ideas

Just because they cherish their quiet time doesn’t mean they won’t do something new and exciting. They just make sure to have their quiet time before taking the plunge into a highly social activity.

3. They Have a Level Head

They spend so much quiet time on their own, taking the time to navigate and contemplate situations, problems, and to really tap into who they are and what they want. They have a strong sense of self and a confidence that radiates from within. When they’re feeling stressed or the weight of the world is closing in? They spend time alone to recharge instead of filling their day with distractions.

4. They Are Comfortable With Their Own Thoughts

I’m sure we’ve all come across that person who can’t stand to be alone with their own thoughts. People who like to spend time alone, particularly in the quiet, display a clear conscience and do not struggle with their inner thoughts. Of course, we can all have down days but they tend to be able to navigate themselves out of any slump.

5. They Understand The Value of Time. Yours and Theirs

You’ll notice a word that keeps coming up in each point. The word is ‘time’. People who spend time alone understand and appreciate it’s value. They put a high priority on making that time available in order for them to function at their highest level and best self; so, when you are giving of your time they understand what you’ve given up for them. They have a deep sense of making sure not to waste your time or to spend time with people who are wasting theirs.

6. They Exercise Strong Boundaries

All of that time alone gives these people the space to think about what motivates them, what works and what doesn’t, and how to properly communicate this. You’ll find that they have strong and healthy boundaries and they exercise their right to communicate these in a really healthy and clear manner.

Have your perceptions changed? Can you see any of these qualities in yourself or a friend?

We all have a different approach to life, celebrating our differences is what’s it’s all about.

Are you like Isaac Newton or Queen Victoria? Analyse your handwriting to find out


Your handwriting can reveal your personality traits, as it comes through the central nervous system, says a new study.

Handwriting
The slant in your handwriting indicates your social stance.

Your handwriting can tell if you have a personality similar to Isaac Newton or Queen Victoria, say scientists who have decoded character traits of some of Britain’s most famous names by decoding their writing style. Researchers from Royal Mail in the UK along with Tracey Trussell, a leading handwriting analyst studied letters and notes from UK’s defining figures such as Rosalind Franklin, Isaac Newton, Queen Victoria, Florence Nightingale, Millicent Fawcett, Charles Darwin and Elizabeth Fry.

The subjects were chosen as they were all keen letter writers and appeared in the 100 Greatest Britons or 100 Great Black Britons lists. “Handwriting is like ‘brain writing’ because it comes through the central nervous system. It’s a snapshot in time,” said Tracey Trussell, handwriting analyst in the UK.

Slant is an emotional barometer that measures people’s social stance. A marked right slant such as that in the writing style of Queen Victoria and Issac Newton indicates that a person is enthusiastic, responsive and that they do not want to hold back and tend to be highly proactive.

Writing consists of three zones — upper, middle and lower. The upper zone focuses on the parts of the letters that extend up wards like b, d, f, h and k, researchers said. People with a large and dominant upper zone have rich imaginations, creative mindsets and big aspirations. They are also intellectually savvy, ethical and have high standards, like Claudia Jones, Ignatius Sancho and Charles Darwin, researchers said.

A person with long and high t-bars is a take-charge sort of person, like Queen Victoria and feminist leader Millicent Fawcett. They are decision makers and perfectionists, they said. Narrow or non-existent right margin is when the end of a sentence leaves no space on the right hand side of the page. Words appear to fall off the edge of the page or dip down like in the cases of Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin. The size of the right hand margin shows the writer’s real feelings towards the future. Those that leave no right margin are outgoing and engaging. They are also impulsive, goal-orientated and driven, researchers said.

A noticeably large (or inflated) letter ‘k’ shows people who are resourceful and defiant like Charles Darwin, Ignatius Sancho and Claudia Jones. They like to get their own way and follow their own path in life, researchers said. “It is amazing to think that something we do every day can reveal so much about us,” said David Gold from Royal Mail — a postal and delivery provider service.

With Personality Traits You Are Who You Like


In an age-old affirmation of “like attracts like,” a new study by personality psychologists has found that people with dysfunctional traits such as narcissism and antagonism are more tolerant when they run into others who share those troublesome traits, LiveScience reports. However, this doesn’t mean that narcissist or antagonistic people actually like these behaviors; they’re simply more tolerant of them, the researchers added, noting that this is one reason some personality disorders are so hard to treat.

The science of mental health is an ongoing field of study that too often ends up with a prescription for a drug to treat whatever mental health problem you have, as opposed to addressing the root causes of mental health issues. For example, it’s a known fact that depression rates rise during fall and winter — a root cause that can be directly addressed with more sunlight, as opposed to a bottle of pills.

The impact that the sun has on your overall health cannot be overstated. Sunlight has a profound impact on your mental health. Out of 19 environmental factors, the only one correlating to higher levels of distress was the amount of time between sunrise and sunset.

But unless you live in a warm climate that allows you to get out in the sun every day, it simply isn’t possible to get the full benefits of sunlight. This why I recommend photobiology as a therapeutic use of light to improve health.

Other tips for beating the winter blues include exercising, getting enough good-quality sleep, avoiding processed foods, optimizing your gut health and immune system (which can help you socially as well), and increasing the amount of high quality, animal-based omega-3 fats into your diet. Foods especially have an immense impact on your mood and ability to cope, and eating a diet of fresh, whole foods will best support your mental health.

Source:mercola.com

Scientists have found genetic links between personality traits and psychiatric diseases.


The secrets hiding in our DNA.

Scientists have identified genetic links between a set of psychological factors known as ‘the big five‘ personality traits – extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience – and say they could also influence risk factors for certain psychiatric disorders.

While it has already been established that personality is partly linked to genetics, recent genome-wide association studies like this will allow researchers to take a closer look at which parts of our DNA code affect certain aspects of our character.

“Although personality traits are heritable, it has been difficult to characterise genetic variants associated with personality until recent, large-scale GWAS,” explains lead researcher Chi-Hua Chen from the University of California, San Diego.

Chen and his team analysed genetic data, including around 60,000 genetic samples collected by private firm 23andMe and some 80,000 samples provided by the Genetics of Personality Consortium.

With so much DNA data to work with, they were able to look for correlations between specific genetic features, personality traits, and psychiatric disorders.

We know that parts of our personality, such as intelligence, are down to a combination of the genes we were born with – our inherited DNA – and our life experiences, such as how good our teachers are when we’re growing up.

But scientists aren’t certain about how these two factors balance out, which makes large-scale studies like this very useful.

The researchers found links between certain genes and certain traits. For instance, the genes WSCD2 and PCDH15 are connected to extraversion, while the gene L3MBTL2 and the chromosome 8p23.1 are tied to neuroticism.

They also found that genes related to neuroticism and openness to experience were clustered together in the same regions as genes linked to certain psychiatric disorders.

Other genetic correlations showed connections between extraversion and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); between openness and schizophrenia and bipolar disorder; and between neuroticism and depression and anxiety.

In other words, the same parts of DNA coding that help define our personalities could also affect our likelihood of developing mental health problems.

That’s not to say the genes we’re born with fully define our personality and make psychiatric problems inevitable, but they do seem to have an influence – and could be closely linked to each other, based on these findings.

On the other hand, the research found no genetic overlap between mental illnesses and agreeableness (being cooperative and compassionate), or conscientiousness (being responsible and self-disciplined).

It’s still early days for the research, and the study has only shown a correlation, not a causative link between personality traits and certain psychological disorders, but the team says with more investigation, we might be able to find a way to predict and treat these disorders in the future.

“Our study is in an early stage for genetic research in personality, and many more genetic variants associated with personality traits are to be discovered,” says Chen.

“We found genetic correlations between personality traits and psychiatric disorders, but specific variants underlying the correlations are unknown.”

Can a “Triple Package” of Personality Traits Explain Success?


The “tiger mother” thesis is refuted by science.

If the presence of these three traits predict success, regardless of one’s ethnic or cultural group, then one might more confidently conclude that it is the combination of traits – rather than some other reason – that leads to greater success.  

In 2011, Yale law professor Amy Chua became a household name after publishing her book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, a memoir documenting her draconian parenting style. Chua generated lots of publicity for her shock value anecdotes, like the time she threatened to burn all her daughter’s stuffed animals as consequence for playing poorly on the piano. Chua claims that her parenting techniques were not only typical of Chinese immigrants, but explained why Chinese Americans, on average, have educationally outperformed other ethnic groups.

Three years later, Chua collaborated with her husband and fellow Yale law professor, Jed Rubenfeld, to write a book that makes even bolder claims about how cultural differences explain group disparities in success. In The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America, Chua and Rubenfeld argue that a unique combination of three personality traits are the magic formula behind achievement. The three traits are: a belief in the superiority of one’s own group, a tendency towards feelings of insecurity, and the ability to control one’s impulses. According to the book, individuals who belong to cultures that emphasize these three traits tend to do better. As examples of their theory at work, Chua and Rubenfeld point out the greater success of Mormons, Nigerians, Persians, Cubans, Indians, East Asians, Lebanese, and Jews.

Chua and Rubenfeld’s book was met with harsh opposition, particularly from Asian Americans who objected to what they saw as the perpetuation of the “model minority” stereotype — the idea that Asian Americans tend to do well because of a cultural emphasis on work ethic, family values, and conformity. (Chua is Chinese.) Like all stereotypes, the model minority stereotype ignores the vast diversity within the Asian American population as well as the challenges faced by many people within that group.

The book also received praise from critics who lauded its frank discussion of an important question: why do some groups in America, on average, tend to do better than others? If one examines Chua and Rubenfeld’s theory closely, it becomes apparent that it is ultimately psychological rather than cultural: they propose that a specific combination of psychological traits can explain success, and they believe that people from certain groups are more likely to possess them. Joshua Hart and Christopher Chabris, both psychology professors at Union College, decided to empirically test the “triple package” hypothesis, using twostudies with a combined online sample of over 1200 adults of various ethnic backgrounds.

The researchers deliberately chose to study a sample of representative Americans, rather than members of the successful groups mentioned by Chua and Rubenfeld, since this would offer a stronger test of the theory. If the presence of these three traits predict success, regardless of one’s ethnic or cultural group, then one might more confidently conclude that it is the combination of traits – rather than some other reason – that leads to greater success.

The triple package’s first trait, a belief in the superiority of one’s own group, was measured with a scale that asked respondents how much they agree with statements such as, “Most other cultures are backward compared to my culture.” Measuring insecurity, the second trait, proved a bit more complex because Chua and Rubenfeld argue in their book that insecurity can take many forms including low self-esteem, feelings of danger, or fear of losing what one already has. Therefore, the researchers measured insecurity using multiple scales. They combined their participants’ scores on these scales and identified the following three factors of insecurity: personal insecurity, contingent self-worth, and family insecurity. For “control,” the third trait, they used scales of impulsiveness, conscientiousness, and grit.

The researchers also measured their participants’ cognitive abilities through vocabulary and mathematical reasoning tests. Although Chua and Rubenfeld’s theory does not emphasize intelligence, past research has shown that general cognitive abilities are one of the strongest predictors of achievement and success. Finally, to measure life success, Hart and Chabris had their participants report on their annual income, level of education, and honors and awards they have received. All of these measures of success were combined to create a single, combined “success” variable.

The researchers used regression analysis to determine the strength of the relationship between the personality traits and self-reported success. The findings did not support Chua and Rubenfeld’s triple package theory of traits. The participants reporting the most success were not the ones who scored highly on all three traits. Instead, the biggest predictors of success were cognitive ability and parental education. Also, in direct contradiction to Chua and Rubenfeld’s theory, greater personal insecurity was related toless success in life.

There were, however, a couple of isolated findings that did support elements of the triple package hypothesis. Participants who scored higher on contingent self-worth reported greater success. People with high contingent self-worth tend to rely more on outer circumstances, such as the praise of other people, in order to feel good about themselves. It makes sense that people who have a high need for external approval would work harder to achieve outward success. In addition, there was a small but significant correlation between feelings of group superiority and attaining a higher income. In other words, the more hubris that participants expressed about their own ethnic group, the more money they reported making. Despite these individual findings in support of the theory, Hart and Chabris found no consistent evidence that it is the unique combination of the three traits – group superiority, personal insecurity, and impulse control – that leads to greater success.

If Chua and Rubenfeld’s theory can’t explain the success of certain groups, then what might? Hart and Chabris point out that, although it seems appealing to think that we can identify a group of learnable traits that determine success, there is scant evidence for such a formula. The idea of a “triple package” may seem compelling because it seems to fit with our own personal observations and common stereotypes about immigrants. In addition, the theory meshes well with the belief that success depends on one’s hard work and personal qualities, rather than one’s circumstances. But, as best we know, success is best explained by such unsurprising factors as being smart, being conscientious, and having the good fortune of growing up in a financially stable environment.

What spicy food says about you?


Spiciness is actually not a taste or flavor — it’s your body sensing the presence of certain chemicals, also called chemesthesis. The chemicals in peppers and other spicy foods can be a deterrent to some animals and serve as a protective mechanism for a plant, but some humans have developed an affinity for this feeling and seek it out in their cuisine. As one study puts it, some people exhibit a preference for oral burn.

LisovskayaiStockGetty-Images

Interestingly, studies now show this love for heat is also linked to certain personality traits. If you love the heat of spicy food, you may be a thrill-seeker. People who like spicy foods are attracted to the burning sensation of a compound called capsaicin, which causes a mild feeling of pain when eaten. Chili peppers are commonly associated with spiciness, which is rated on the Scoville scale and measures capsaicin content.

A 2013 study in the Food Quality and Preference Journal describes the many factors that affect a love of spicy foods, ranging from social or cultural influences, how many times you’ve been exposed to capsaicin, physical differences in the sensation of spiciness and a person’s personality traits.

This study also shows that those who seek more frequent chili intake exhibit qualities of “sensation seeking,” or the need for new and complex sensations and “sensitivity to reward behaviors,” which support the researcher’s hypothesis that personality plays a role in whether a person likes spice or not.

There’s good reason to include spices for health as well as for the adventure of eating hot foods. A 2014 study found that healthy compounds in spices, namely flavonoids, work as antioxidants and are associated with a reduced risk of chronic disease.

Capsaicin in particular has been studied extensively in relation to reducing cancer risk, even at relatively low to medium intake levels. Many studies show the most benefit from spices at higher intake levels, so finding ways to include a variety of spices in your diet on a regular basis may offer benefits outside of the kitchen.

If you’re averse to spice but want to enjoy a mild level of capsaicin-containing foods, try sweeter peppers like the Anaheim, ancho, sweet bell or poblano. Increase the heat in your foods by trying Cholula hot sauce, horseradish or wasabi and serrano or jalapeno peppers.

If these medium peppers and sauces are too spicy, start with a very small quantity and work your way up, as studies show that repeat exposure is also associated with enjoying spiciness.

Remember, you can always add spice, but you can’t take it away. The hottest peppers, such as the Carolina Reaper, cayenne pepper, ghost pepper, habanero or Thai chili pepper, should be used only for those who love spice and are accustomed to it; capsaicin content here is much higher than mild or medium peppers. Sensation-seeking folks will likely go for these capsaicin-packed, mouth-burning peppers. Whichever level of spice you enjoy adding to your food, there is a pepper for everyone — so we can all partake in this healthful trend.

 

Scientists Discover That Eyes Are Windows To The Soul .


The eye is the window to the universe, and some would say they are also windows to the soul..  We have heard this phrase get passed around before: “The eyes are the windows of the soul”.  People usually say this when they can see pain, anger, or some other emotion in somebody else’s eyes.  But recent research gives a whole new meaning to this phrase.  Eyes not only windows to emotions, they are windows to the soul.

How?  The answer has to do with the actual eyeball itself.  Everyone has a different structure of lines, dots and colours within the iris of their eye.  Some people may have similar eye colour to each other, but the lines and dots on the iris are as unique as a fingerprint.

Although they vary from person to person, there are certain patterns contained within the iris which are widespread, and scientists at Orebro University in Sweden wanted to see if these patterns correlated with specific personality traits.

They focused on patterns in crypts (threads which radiate from the pupil) and contraction furrows (lines curving around the outer edge) which are formed when the pupils dilate.  The studied the eyes of 428 subjects to see if the crypts patters and contraction furrows reflected their character traits.

What they found

Their findings showed those with denselypacked crypts are more warmhearted, tender, trusting, and likely to sympathise with others.  In comparison, those with more contraction furrows were more neurotic, impulsive and likely to give way to cravings.

It’s crazy to think how the markings on a person’s eyeball can reveal the most deep-rooted character traits of an individual.

There was an extremely strong correlation between a person’s iris and their personality traits.  But correlation does not imply causation right? Right. But it appears as though both eye detail and a person’s character traits may be caused by the same thing.

The researchers said that eye structure and personality could be linked because the gene sequences responsible for developing the structure of the iris also contribute to the development of the frontal lobe of our brain, which is the motherboard of our personality.

 “‘Our results suggest people with different iris features tend to develop along different personality lines,’ said Matt Larsson, a behavioural scientist who led the study at Orebro University.  ‘These findings support the notion that people with different iris configurations tend to develop along different trajectories in regards to personality.  Differences in the iris can be used as a biomarker that reflects differences between people.’”

 

The scientists also mentioned something very interesting about a gene called PAX6, which controls the formation of the eye in the early stages of embryonic development.  Research has shown that mutation of the gene results in poor social skills, impulsiveness, and poor communication skills.

Eye colour reveals even more

According to researchers at Pittsburgh University, women with lighter colored eyes experience less pain during childbirth compared to women with darker eyes. People with lighter eyes also consume significantly more alcohol, as darker eyed people require less alcohol to become intoxicated.

The reason boils down to genes. A senior lecturer in biomolecular sciences at Liverpool John Moores University said, “What we know now is that eye color is based on 12 to 13 individual variations in people’s genes… These genes do other things in the body.”

Take melanin,the pigment that makes eyes darker.   Melanin may also makes people more susceptible to alcohol. When psychologists at Georgia State University in Atlanta surveyed more than 12,000 men and women, they found those with light eyes consumed significantly more alcohol than those with dark eyes. The reason brown-eyed people may drink less – and also be less likely to be alcoholics – is because they need less alcohol to become intoxicated.

Melanin not only determines eye darkness, it’s also an insulator for the electrical connections between brain cells. The more melanin in the brain, the more efficiently, sensitively and faster the brain can work, the researchers reported in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.  So the chemical responsible for eye darkness is also responsible for brain efficiency.

Eyes are literally the windows to the inner most aspects of our personality and character traits.  If you look into someones eyes, you can easily tell if they are scared, sad, or worn down inside.  But if you look even closer, you will also be able to see what kind of psychology and personality that person has.  Eyes are literally a window into people’s souls.

FRIENDS KNOW HOW LONG YOU’LL LIVE, STUDY FINDS


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Young lovers walking down the aisle may dream of long and healthy lives together, but close friends in the wedding party may have a better sense of whether those wishes will come true, suggests new research on personality and longevity from Washington University in St. Louis.

“You expect your friends to be inclined to see you in a positive manner, but they also are keen observers of the personality traits that could send you to an early grave,” said Joshua Jackson, PhD, assistant professor of psychology in Arts & Sciences.Published Jan. 12 in an advance online issue of the journal Psychological Science, the study demonstrates that your personality at an early age (20s) can predict how long you will live across 75 years and that close friends are usually better than you at recognizing these traits.

Male participants seen by their friends as more open and conscientious ended up living longer. Female participants whose friends rated them as high on emotional stability and agreeableness also enjoyed longer lifespans, the study found.

“Our study shows that people are able to observe and rate a friend’s personality accurately enough to predict early mortality decades down the road,” Jackson said. “It suggests that people are able to see important characteristics related to health even when their friends were, for the most part, healthy and many years from death.”

It’s no secret that a person’s personality traits can have an impact on health. Traits such as depression and anger have been linked to an increased risk of various diseases and health concerns, including an early death.

Men who are conscientious are more likely to eat right, stick with an exercise routine and avoid risks, such as driving without a seat belt. Women who are emotionally stable may be better at fighting off anger, anxiety and depression, Jackson suggests.

While other studies have shown that a person’s view of his or her own personality can be helpful in gauging mortality risk, there has been little research on whether a close friend’s personality assessment might also predict the odds of a long life.

To explore this question, Jackson and colleagues analyzed data from a longitudinal study that in the 1930s began following a group of young people in their mid-20s, most of whom were engaged to be married.

The longitudinal study included extensive data on participant personality traits, both self-reported and as reported by close friends, including bridesmaids and groomsmen in the study participants’ wedding parties.

Using information from previous follow-up studies and searches of death certificates, Jackson and colleagues were able to document dates of death for all but a few study participants. Peer ratings of personality were stronger predictors of mortality risk than were self-ratings of personality.

“There are two potential reasons for the superiority of peer ratings over self ratings,” Jackson said.

“First, friends may see something that you miss; they may have some insight that you do not. Second, because people have multiple friends, we are able to average the idiosyncrasies of any one friend to obtain a more reliable assessment of personality. With self reports, people may be biased or miss certain aspects of themselves and we are not able to counteract that because there is only one you, only one self-report.”

The study also revealed some gender differences in self-assessment: Men’s self-ratings of personality traits were somewhat useful in predicting their lifespans, whereas the self-reports of women had little predictive value.

Jackson suggests this gender difference in self-reporting may be a function of the era in which the study began, since societal expectations were different then and fewer women worked outside the home.

Young women seen as highly agreeable and emotionally stable may have increased odds for a long and happy life since their personalities were well suited for the role of a supportive and easy-going wife, which would have been the norm in the 1930s. It is likely that fewer gender differences would arise in more modern samples if we were able to wait 75 years to replicate the study, he said.

“This is one of the longest studies in psychology,” Jackson said. “It shows how important personality is in influencing significant life outcomes like health and demonstrates that information from friends and other observers can play a critical role in understanding a person’s health issues. For example, it suggests that family members and even physician ratings could be used to personalize medical treatments or identify who is at risk for certain health ailments.”

Here’s Proof That Facebook Knows You Better Than Your Friends


Your operating system knows you so well, says science

Facebook, for one. Researchers at the University of Cambridge and Stanford University studied how Facebook Likes matched up with people’s own answers on personality tests, as well as those of their close family and friends. With enough Likes of objects, brands, people, music or books, the computer was better at predicting a person’s personality than most of the people closest to them—with the exception of spouses. (They still know us best, it seems.)

Wu Youyou, a PhD student in the Psychometrics Center at the University of Cambridge, and her colleagues had previously investigated how computer models could predict demographic and psychological traits in people. But inspired by the movie Her, they were curious about how the models would do in evaluating personality traits. They asked 86,220 people on Facebook to complete a 100-question personality survey that determined where they stood on the so-called Big Five traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. They then analyzed their Facebook Likes to generate a model in which Likes were linked to the traits. Likers of meditation, TED talks and Salvador Dali, for example, tended to score higher on openness, while those who liked reality star Snookie, dancing and partying were more extraverted.

On average, people on Facebook had 227 Likes, and this was enough information for the computer to be a better predictor of personality than an average human judge (in other words, a friend), and almost as good as a spouse. The more Likes, the better the computer got. It only took 10 Likes for the computer to outperform a work colleague, for instance, 70 to do better than a friend, and 150 to outscore a family member.

 

“We know people are pretty good at predicting people’s personality traits, because it’s such an important thing in all of our interactions,” says Youyou. “But we were surprised by how computers were able to do better than most friends by using just a single kind of digital data such as Facebook Likes.”

Computers are such good predictors because they can take all the Likes at face value and treat them equally, says Youyou’s co-author Michal Kosinski from Stanford’s department of computer science. People tend to forget information if it’s not top of mind and tend to give more weight to memorable or recent events, potentially biasing our evaluations. But computers can treat each piece of information objectively.

 

Still, the computer strategy isn’t always entirely accurate. It can’t account for changes in people’s moods and behaviors and outlooks, and given that people are notoriously dynamic, that could be a problem. (People who scored higher on the extraversion scale, for example, did like meeting new people but also inexplicably Liked Tiffany & Co., while those who were more conscientious expressed preferences for mountain biking and motorcycles.) But Kosinski thinks that this kind of computer modeling could help processes like career planning and job recruitment. People just entering the job market could benefit from such personality profiling, which could better link them to the right industries and jobs in those sectors. A free spirit who likes to travel, explore and take risks, for example, likely wouldn’t be happy as an accountant, while an introverted person wouldn’t be ideal for a marketing or public relations position.

Kosinski also speculates that computers could streamline job recruitment. Many companies use personality questionnaires, especially when seeking high-level executives, but such questionnaires can be inaccurate and unreliable, as candidates are incentivized to give the answers they think the company wants to see. Computers might be able to come up with a more accurate personality profile than these questionnaires, if the Facebook data are any indication.

Kosinski recognizes that applying such models is tricky. “We have to be really cautious and make sure we don’t upset people and don’t do anything that breaches the trust between the applicant and the employer, if the employer starts testing without explicit consent,” he says. “But we certainly hope that these technologies can be used to better human life.”

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