People who are ‘larks’ — preferring to rise early and get to bed early — are more conscientious, research finds.
Conscientious people are systematic and dutiful and are more likely to follow through on their plans than their less conscientious peers.
Morning people tend to be persistent, calm and deliberate, with a strong need to achieve.
Evening people, meanwhile, are more likely to be indecisive, risk-takers — the kind of people who are impulsive, but sometimes have problems getting things done.
The results come from collecting together many studies totalling 8,589 people.
All were tested for their personality traits and whether they were ‘larks’ or ‘owls’ — in other words, morning or evening people.
The study’s author explains the results:
“…conscientiousness is the personality dimension mostly related with morningness.[…]
This result suggests that morning people are basically conscientious people.
Among other characteristics, conscientious individuals are generally thorough and systematic, with good impulse control and goal-directed behaviours.
Morning individuals on the other hand, apart from the fact that they get up early in the morning, tend to be hard working, reliable, act dutifully most of time and generally like to get things done on schedule, characteristics that are typical of conscientious people.”
Some people are neither larks nor owls, having no preference for morning or evening activities, or rising particularly early or going to bed especially late.
However, for those who do prefer to be up early, this suggests a certain personality type:
“…there is a positive correlation between morningness and need for achievement, a characteristic that is typical to conscientious individuals.[…]
…morningness is negatively related to indecision and procrastination, two behaviours that are typical in individuals who score low in conscientiousness.
Evening people tend to be procrastinators, the authors write:
“…procrastinators self-identified more as ‘night’ persons as opposed to ‘day’ persons in comparison with nonprocrastinators.
There are also findings in which morningness is inversely correlated with impulsiveness and greater risk-taking propensity, characteristics that are also typical to non-conscientious individuals.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the European Journal of Personality (Tsaousis, 2010).