The Most Attractive Personality Traits, According To Research

These personality traits are more attractive in both a man and a woman.

These personality traits are more attractive in both a man and a woman.

Playfulness is one of the more attractive personality traits, psychologists have found.

Playful people are particularly keen for their partners to be playful.

The playful prefer someone who is funny, laidback and creative.

The five most attractive personality traits, though, are:

  1. kindness and understanding,
  2. intelligence,
  3. sense of humour,
  4. being fun loving,
  5. and having an exciting personality.

For a longer list of attractive personality traits, with links to the research studies, see below.

Signs of a playfulness person

Playful people enjoy teasing, wordplay, improvising and taking challenges in a light-hearted way.

They enjoy unusual things and are good at creating situations people can enjoy.

Playfulness seems to send a slightly different type of positive signal to men and women.

To women playfulness sends the signal that a man is not aggressive.

To a man it send the signal that a woman has vitality.

Dr René Proyer, the study’s first author, said:

“Therefore, this personality trait also seems important for the choice of partner — at least more so than the partner having a degree, good genes or being religious.”

The conclusions come from a survey of 327 young adults.

They were asked which traits they found desirable in a long-term partner.

Both men and women mostly agreed on the order of the traits.

However, women were more interested in a sense of humour and men in an exciting personality.

Dr Proyer said:

“Although we should be cautious while interpreting the data, this could be an indication that playful people are actually perceived as more attractive partners or that playfulness increasingly develops in the relationship.”

The study’s author write that playfulness may increase well-being:

“…individuals perceive playfulness as being beneficial to well-functioning romantic relationships by increasing the well-being of the partners, by maintaining the relationships’ excitement, and by conveying the each individual’s affection for his or her partner, and—more generally speaking—by more deeply cultivating the relationship.”

Attractive personality traits

Other personality traits often rated the most attractive to a wide variety of people include:

  • Intelligence and friendliness.
  • Kindness: when choosing a long-term partner, traits such as financial prospects and physical attractiveness are certainly important. However, it is kindness that people value above all else.
  • Being extraverted and having stable emotions: extraverts are generally outgoing, self-confident and cheerful and can also be impulsive, sensation-seekers. Emotional stability is linked to being better at dealing with stress and minor frustrations.
  • Being compassionate: being compassionate is particularly attractive to people who are highly empathetic or have a left-wing ideology.
  • Optimism: optimists mix well in long-term relationships with everyone.
  • Generosity: all kinds of generous acts are effective, from giving up time for charitable causes to just giving affection to others.
  • Non-conformity: both men and women prefer someone who ‘did their own thing’ rather than someone who ‘went along’ with everyone else.

Indeed, positive personality traits like those above can make a person appear more physically attractive.

Similarly, those displaying negative personality traits — like rudeness and unfairness — look physically less attractive to observers.

Narcissists and psychopaths

While the personality traits above are often attractive to most people, some personality traits are only attractive to certain people or in some situations.

For example:

  • Women are sometimes attracted to men with dark personality traits.
  • ‘Bad boys’ tend to be laid-back and extraverted, both of which are attractive traits — however, when narcissism and psychopathy reveal themselves, this is less attractive.
  • Although men say they prefer a smarter women, when a real living, breathing smarter women is close by, men shy away, preferring women of lower intelligence.
  • Being nice makes women more attractive to men, but can have the opposite effect for men on women.

The study was published in the American Journal of Play (Proyer & Wagner, 2015).

Author: Dr Jeremy Dean

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.

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