This Personality Trait Preserves Memory And Judgement

The best mindset to ward off cognitive decline can be cultivated using exercises such as visualising your best possible self.

The best mindset to ward off cognitive decline can be cultivated using exercises such as visualising your best possible self.

Older adults with a more optimistic outlook experience fewer memory and judgement problems, research finds.

Optimism has also been linked to desirable health behaviours like:

  • Eating more healthily.
  • Exercising regularly.
  • Lower risk of heart conditions and stroke.

For the study, researchers followed around 500 older adults over four years to see if they experienced any cognitive impairments.

The results showed that the best mindset was optimism, which was linked to a lower risk of developing cognitive impairment.

Ms Katerina Gawronski, the study’s first author, said:

“We felt like this was an important topic to investigate and to our knowledge, it’s the first study to examine the link between optimism and cognitive impairment in older adults.

We found that optimism was indeed associated with better cognitive health over time.”

Best mindset can be learned

The good news is that optimism is not fixed in stone.

Exercises such as visualising your ‘best possible self‘ have been shown to increase optimism.

Here is how I’ve previously explained the exercise:

Visualising your best possible self may sound like an exercise in fantasy but, crucially, it does have to be realistic.

Carrying out this exercise typically involves imagining your life in the future, but a future where everything that could go well, has gone well.

You have reached those realistic goals that you have set for yourself.

Then, to help cement your visualisation, you commit your best possible self to paper.

This exercise draws on the proven benefits of expressive writing.

Dr Eric Kim, a study co-author, said:

“Therefore, optimism may be a novel and promising target for prevention and intervention strategies aimed at improving cognitive health.”

The study was published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine (Gawronski et al., 2016).

These 2 Dark Triad Personality Traits Are Highly Attractive

The study showed 128 young women personality profiles of various men.

The study showed 128 young women personality profiles of various men.

Extraverts with stable, or non-neurotic personalities are particularly attractive, research finds.

However, both of these personality traits also help explain the attraction of the ‘bad boy’ to women, who also tends to be laid-back and extraverted.

Narcissist and psychopaths are seen as both extraverted and having stable, non-neurotic personalities, the study found.

Both of these contribute to the attractiveness of men with ‘dark triad’ personalities.

The ‘dark triad’ of personality factors includes narcissism and psychopathy, along with Machiavellianism.

The study’s authors write:

“Women, particularly in respect of short-term mating, may be attracted to ‘bad boys’, possessing confidence, hard-headedness and an inclination to risk-take – all accurate descriptors of Dark Triad [DT] men; all attractive to women.”

Another explanation for the attractiveness of bad boys could be their superficial charm, the authors write:

“Women may be responding to DT men’s ability to ‘sell themselves’; a useful tactic in a co-evolutionary ‘arms race’ in which men convince women to pursue the former’s preferred sexual strategy.

This ability may derive from a ‘used-car dealer’ ability to charm and manipulate, and DT-associated traits such as assertiveness.

Men with a DT personality are undoubtedly well-placed to successfully implement such a strategy.”

The conclusions come from a study in which 128 young women were shown personality profiles of various men.

One was designed to be high in dark triad personality factors.

The results showed that women saw the ‘bad boy’ as more attractive, when appearance was held constant.

Here are the authors’ quick description of the dark triad personality traits:

“Narcissism is defined by a sense of entitlement, dominance and a grandiose self-view.

[…]

Machiavellians are interpersonally duplicitous, insincere and extraverted.

[…]

Psychopathy consists of callousness, a lack of empathy, and
antisocial, erratic behaviour.”

The study was published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences (Carter et al., 2014).

The Personality Trait Linked To Lower Depression Risk

Some people’s personalities naturally have greater resistance to mental health problems. 

Some people’s personalities naturally have greater resistance to mental health problems.

Extraverts are less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety or any other form of mental health problem, research finds.

Extraverts tend to enjoy other people’s company, are often full of energy and tend to be talkative.

Other people give extraverts energy and they have a tendency to feel bored when alone.

The conclusions come from a study of 441 people in Finland who were given tests of personality, depression and anxiety.

The study also found that people who are neurotic are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.

The study’s authors write:

“…the personality dimension neuroticism is strongly associated with depressive and anxiety symptoms, and the personality dimension intraversion is moderately associated with depressive symptoms among participants in this urban general population.”

Neuroticism, the authors explain, is:

“…characterized by proneness to anxiety, emotional instability, and self-consciousness, whereas extraversion involves positive emotionality, energy, and dominance.”

People who are both neurotic and introverted are at higher risk of depression and anxiety.

However, those who have stable personalities and who are extraverted are less likely to experience depression and anxiety.

The study was published in the journal Depression and Anxiety (Jylhä et al., 2006).

2 Personality Traits That Are Vital For Success

The personality traits that help cadets graduate from the US Military Academy at West Point.

The personality traits that help cadets graduate from the US Military Academy at West Point.

Grit and intelligence are two personality factors vital for success, research suggests.

Grit is the trait of perseverance and passion that keeps people working towards long-term goals.

While higher intelligence helps people succeed at certain activities, it may be grit that really propels people over the line.

The conclusions come from a study of over 11,258 cadets entering the US Military Academy at West Point.

Professor Angela Duckworth, the study’s first author, said:

“I was looking for a context in which people might be quitting too early.

There’s such a thing as quitting at the right time.

But there’s also such a thing as quitting on a bad day when you’re discouraged and maybe shouldn’t be making such a big decision.”

All cadets entering the Academy in nine successive years completed measures of grit, plus the researchers had access to cognitive scores and tests of physical abilities.

Professor Duckworth said:

“We accumulated all this data in part so we could answer more definitively the question of whether grit predicted success outcomes.

We now have more confidence in our original conclusions.

At the same time, we wanted to explore where, perhaps, grit wasn’t the most important factor.”

The results showed that the trait of grit was most useful to cadets during ‘Beast Barracks’, a six-week initiation during which 3 percent of cadets drop out.

Professor Duckworth said:

“The grittier you are, the less likely you are to drop out during that very discouraging time.”

In classroom activities it was intelligence that mattered most.

To graduate from West Point, though, a combination of grit and physical ability was more important than cognitive abilities.

Professor Duckworth said:

“This work shows us that grit is not the only determinant of success.

Yes, it’s very important, helping people stick with things when they’re hard, but it’s not the best predictor of every aspect of success.”

Fascinatingly, the higher cadet’s cognitive abilities, the lower their grit.

Smarter people seem to have less determination to overcome the odds, perhaps because they face fewer challenges.

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Duckworth et al., 2019).

Eating This Food Is A Sign You Are Extraverted

What your diet says about your personality.

What your diet says about your personality.

Eating more meat is a sign of being extraverted, new research finds.

Vegetarians and vegans, meanwhile, are more likely to be introverted.

However, vegetarians also tend to be slimmer than their meat- eating peers.

This is probably because avoiding animal foods reduces the intake of fat and sugar.

Dr Veronica Witte, study co-author, is not sure exactly why vegetarians tend to be more introverted:

“It could be because more introverted people tend to have more restrictive eating habits or because they are more socially segregated because of their eating habits.”

The conclusions come from a study of 8,943 people in Germany who were given a test of personality, along with other measures.

The researchers had expected to find a link between diet and neuroticism, but did not.

Dr Witte said:

“Earlier analyses had found that more neurotic people were generally more likely to avoid certain groups of foods and to behave more restrictively.

We focused here solely on the avoidance of animal products and could not observe any correlation.”

People who are neurotic are more likely to experience depression and anxiety.

Indeed, some research finds that plant-based diets are linked to depression.

However, there was no evidence of this in the current study.

Dr Witte said:

“It is possible that in previous analyses other factors had blurred the results, including the BMI or conspicuous personality traits that are known to be associated with depression.

We accounted for them.”

The lower weight of vegetarians and vegans is less mysterious.

Ms Evelyn Medawar, the study’s first author, said:

“Products that are excessively rich in fat and sugar are particularly fattening.

They stimulate the appetite and delay the feeling of satiety.

If you avoid animal foods, you consume fewer such products on average.

People who eat predominantly vegetable foods may therefore absorb less energy.”

The study was published in the journal Nutrients (Medawar et al., 2020).

Liking This Drink Reveals A Risk-Taking Personality

What liking certain foods and drinks reveals about your personality.

What liking certain foods and drinks reveals about your personality.

Risk-takers and sensation-seekers prefer bitter drinks, such as bitter beer, research finds.

Pale ales, which are generally more bitter than lagers, are preferred by thrill-seekers.

Other bitter drinks, such as strong coffee along with spicy foods, are particularly attractive to sensation-seekers.

Sensation-seeking is an aspect of extraversion, suggesting those who like bitter drinks are more extraverted.

In contrast, people who avoid bitter tastes, tend to have more agreeable personalities, previous research has found.

Dr John Hayes, study co-author, said:

“Traditionally, most researchers find that people who experience bitterness more intensely avoid bitter food or drink—so with heightened bitterness, they like it less, and therefore consume it less.

But here, we find that people who seek higher sensations and are more risk-taking, they like bitter beer such as India pale ales, if they also have greater bitter taste perception.”

For the study, 109 people rated their liking of two pale ales and a lager.

The results revealed that those with sensation-seeking personalities preferred the more bitter beer.

Ms Molly Higgins, the study’s first author, said:

“Our data contradict the classic view that bitterness is merely an aversive sensation that limits intake.

We found that increased bitterness perception does not always lead to decreased liking and intake—rather, it’s a positive attribute in some products for some consumers.”

Disliking bitter foods can be bad for health, said Ms Higgins:

“Avoidance of bitter foods can impact health negatively, because bitter foods such as cruciferous vegetables, green tea and grapefruit contain healthy compounds like flavonols, which are reported to have antioxidant and anticarcinogenic properties.”

Narcissists and psychopaths?

On the other hand, having a preference for bitter tastes is linked to psychopathy, narcissism and everyday sadism, some studies have found.

A predilection for bitter foods and drinks, therefore, could indicated some psychopathic tendencies in a person’s personality.

The study was published in the Food Quality and Preference (Higgins et al., 2020).

There Are Four Personality Types, Scientists Find

The results from over 1.5 million people showed that many clustered around these four types.

The results from over 1.5 million people showed that many clustered around these four types.

There are four distinct personality types that many people fall into, according to research from 1.5 million people around the world.

They are the ‘average’, the ‘reserved’, the ‘role models’ and the ‘self-centred’.

While psychologists usually dislike the idea of personality ‘types’, Professor Luís Amaral, study co-author, said:

“Personality types only existed in self-help literature and did not have a place in scientific journals.

Now, we think this will change because of this study.”

1. Average

Most people are ‘average’, as you would expect: they are relatively extraverted but also a little neurotic.

They are also relatively closed to new experiences, preferring to stick to what they know and not that curious about the world.

2. Reserved

Reserved people tend to be emotionally stable but more introverted.

Set against this, they are also agreeable and conscientious.

This is the quiet, unobtrusive, willing and dependable type.

3. Role Models

Role models tend to have stable emotions and be high in openness to experience, agreeableness, conscientiousness and extraversion.

This means they are friendly, hard-working, outgoing and curious.

Others naturally looked up to them because of their positive personality traits.

Professor Amaral said:

“These are people who are dependable and open to new ideas.

These are good people to be in charge of things.

In fact, life is easier if you have more dealings with role models.”

People are more likely to fit into the role model category as they get older.

Women are also more likely to fall into this category.

4. Self-centred

Self-centred people are extraverted but low in openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness.

Teenage boys are particularly likely to be self-centred, Professor Amaral said:

“We know teen boys behave in self-centered ways.

If the data were correct and sifted for demographics, they would they turn out to be the biggest cluster of people.”

People tend to get less self-centred with age.

The results come from a survey of over 1.5 million people worldwide.

All were given standard tests of the five major factors of personality: neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion and openness to experience.

The results showed that many — although not all — people tend to cluster around these four types.

Change is also possible between the groups, Professor Amaral said:

“When we look at large groups of people, it’s clear there are trends, that some people may be changing some of these characteristics over time.

This could be a subject of future research.”

The study was published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour (Gerlach et al., 2018).

This Personality Type Is Most Likely To Cheat

Between 40 percent and 76 percent of people cheat on their partners over the course of their relationship.

Between 40 percent and 76 percent of people cheat on their partners over the course of their relationship.

Men with performance anxiety and who like to take risks are most likely to cheat, a study finds.

Women, though, tend to cheat if they are dissatisfied with the relationship.

The standard of a man’s relationship does not have much effect on whether he cheats.

Instead, it is a man’s personality that is especially important in whether or not he cheats.

The study supports the stereotype that men who are cheaters will continue to cheat, whatever kind of relationship they are in.

Risk-takers tend to be impulsive and can have problems controlling themselves.

Gambling, drug-taking and aggressive behaviour can all be signs of someone who is a risk-taker.

Cheating is one more way for this type of man to find excitement.

The pattern is different among women, where unhappiness in their current relationship predicts cheating.

In fact, women who are dissatisfied with their relationship were twice as likely to cheat on their partner than those who were satisfied.

The study included almost one thousand men and women in (supposedly) monogamous relationships.

The results showed that 23% of men and 19% of women admitted being unfaithful at some point.

Men’s infidelity was predicted by personality factors like risk-taking.

Professor Milhausen, who led the study, said:

“All kinds of things predict infidelity.

What this study says is that when you put all of those things together, for men, personality characteristics are so strong they bounce everything else out of the model.

For women, in the face of all other variables, it’s still the relationship that is the most important predictor.”

The study was published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior (Mark et al., 2011).

The Positive Personality Trait That Increases With Age

The study underlines the surprising resilience of the human mind in the face of life’s tragedies.

The study underlines the surprising resilience of the human mind in the face of life’s tragedies.

People get more optimistic as they get older, research finds.

From the age of 15 until mid-life, people’s optimism tends to increase and remains at a high until they reach their 60s or 70s, when it starts to drop again.

Even health problems, divorce and bereavement fail to dent people’s fundamental optimism.

The study underlines the surprising resilience of the human mind in the face of life’s tragedies.

Dr William Chopik, the study’s first author, said:

“We found that optimism continued to increase throughout young adulthood, seemed to steadily plateau and then decline into older adulthood.

Even people with fairly bad circumstances, who have had tough things happen in their lives, look to their futures and life ahead and felt optimistic.”

The study included 75,000 people in the US, Germany and the Netherlands.

They were asked about their levels of optimism, along with life events such as new jobs, marriage, divorce and bereavements.

Dr Chopik was surprised by how the most serious life events affected people’s optimism:

“Counterintuitively — and most surprising — we found that really hard things like deaths and divorce really didn’t change a person’s outlook to the future.

This shows that a lot of people likely subscribe to the ‘life is short’ mantra and realize they should focus on things that make them happy and maintain emotional balance.”

The results showed that, on average, people become more optimistic between 15 and 60 or 70 years old.

Dr Chopik said:

“There’s a massive stretch of life during which you keep consistently looking forward to things and the future.

Part of that has to do with experiencing success both in work and life.

You find a job, you meet your significant other, you achieve your goals and so on.

You become more autonomous and you are somewhat in control of your future; so, you tend to expect things to turn out well.”

Old age brings a decline in optimism as people face health concerns and their own death.

Nevertheless, people do not become fully fledged pessimists, said Dr Chopik:

“Retirement age is when people can stop working, have time to travel and to pursue their hobbies.

But very surprisingly, people didn’t really think that it would change the outlook of their lives for the better.”

People’s resilience is remarkable, Dr Chopik said:

“We oftentimes think that the really sad or tragic things that happen in life completely alter us as people, but that’s not really the case.

You don’t fundamentally change as a result of terrible things; people diagnosed with an illness or those who go through another crisis still felt positive about the future and what life had ahead for them on the other side.”

The study was published in the Journal of Research in Personality (Chopik et al., 2020).

2 Surprising Personality Traits Linked To Stronger Immune System

Although people high in this personality trait generally suffer from more stress and anxiety, some have a surprising health advantage.

Although people high in this personality trait generally suffer from more stress and anxiety, some have a surprising health advantage.

Being neurotic can be good for your health in some circumstances.

So-called ‘healthy neurotics’ are people who combine neurotic personality traits with being conscientious.

Healthy neurotics have lower levels of markers of inflammation in their blood, suggesting their immune system is functioning better.

The self-discipline of being conscientious counteracts unhealthy neurotic behaviours like overeating and drinking too much alcohol.

Dr Nicholas A. Turiano, the study’s first author, said:

“These people are likely to weigh the consequences of their actions, and therefore their level of neuroticism coupled with conscientiousness probably stops them from engaging in risky behaviors.”

A survey of 1,054 adults found that those who were both neurotic and conscientious had lower levels of inflammation in their blood.

Interleukin 6 (IL-6) is an immune protein that is linked to chronic disease.

The neurotic and conscientious also had fewer chronic health problems and lower body-mass indexes.

The results are somewhat surprising as neurotic people tend to suffer more from stress and anxiety, which are also linked to worse health.

Dr Turiano said:

“Speculation is that healthy neurotics may be hyper-vigilant about their lifestyle and about seeking treatment when a problem arises.

It’s their conscientiousness that guides their decisions to prevent disease or quickly get treatment when they don’t feel well.”

Better physical health is not the first advantage identified for the neurotic, as I’ve written previously:

“High levels of creativity may go hand-in-hand with neuroticism.

It’s because the area of the brain which is linked to creativity also has the tendency to overthink things and worry.

Neuroticism is characterised by negative thinking in a range of areas.”

Neurotic people also seem to suffer from indecision as a result of worrying about the future.

One way to reduce this is to start learning to take action:

“Learning to value taking action is an important way of reducing the harmful effects of neuroticism.

People high in anxiety and neuroticism dislike taking action, recent research reveals.”

→ Read on about the harmful effects of neuroticism.

The study was published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity (Turiano et al., 2012).

Get free email updates

Join the free PsyBlog mailing list. No spam, ever.