This Personality Trait Cuts Alzheimer’s Risk In Half

A study of hundreds of nuns and monks reveals which trait cuts Alzheimer’s risk in half.

A study of hundreds of nuns and monks reveals which trait cuts Alzheimer’s risk in half.

Being conscientious cuts the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in half, research finds.

People who are conscientious tend to be more organised, responsible and in control of their impulses.

The study’s authors explain:

“Conscientiousness (eg, “I am a productive person who always gets the job done”) refers to a tendency to be self-disciplined, scrupulous, and purposeful.”

They are also more likely to follow through on their duties and obligations.

The study of hundreds of nuns and monks found that those who were more productive and reliable were less likely to be affected by Alzheimer’s.

People high on conscientiousness were also more likely to experience a slower cognitive decline with age and lower risk of mild cognitive impairment (a risk factor for Alzheimer’s).

The results come from a study of 997 elderly nuns, priests and monks, none of whom had dementia at the start of the study.

Many were followed up for more than a decade.

The brains of those that died were examined for markers of Alzheimer’s.

The study revealed that those with the highest levels of conscientiousness were at an 89% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s compared to those with the lowest levels.

Surprisingly, the results could not be explained by conscientious people living more healthily.

Instead, the authors write that it could be partly down to education:

“…conscientiousness is a consistent predictor of academic and occupational performance.

Both level of educational and occupational attainment and the nature of occupational experiences have been associated with risk of AD.

Highly conscientious people may have a more intensive exposure to these educational and occupational experiences than less conscientious individuals and thereby derive additional benefit.”

Being conscientious may also buffer against life stress, they write:

“Conscientiousness is associated with a higher level of resilience and greater reliance on task-oriented coping.

These factors might lessen the adverse consequences of negative life events and chronic psychological distress, which have been associated with risk of dementia in old age.”

The study was published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry (Wilson et al., 2007).

The Clearest Sign Of A Trustworthy Personality Type

People who are prone to this emotion feel more responsibility towards others.

People who are prone to this emotion feel more responsibility towards others.

People who are prone to anticipate feeling guilty are the most trustworthy, research finds.

Compared with other personality traits like openness, neuroticism and extraversion, it is guilt-proneness that best predicts people’s trustworthiness.

Anticipating guilt is key, because it means a person is considering how guilty they will feel if they do something wrong…

…and this stops them doing it.

This is different from feeling guilt after doing something wrong, which encourages people to try and make up for the transgression.

People who are prone to anticipating guilt, though, feel more responsibility towards others and are much less likely to behave exploitatively.

The results come from a series of six studies in which people played economic games that tested their behaviour.

In these games, people more prone to anticipating guilt were more likely to return money to others.

The authors write:

“Trust and trustworthiness are critical for effective relationships and effective organizations.

Individuals and institutions incur high costs when trust is misplaced, but people can mitigate these costs by engaging in relationships with individuals who are trustworthy.

Our findings extend the substantial literature on trust by deepening our understanding of trustworthiness: When deciding in whom to place trust, trust the guilt-prone.”

Dr Emma Levine, the study’s first author, said:

“Our research suggests that if you want your employees to be worthy of trust, make sure they feel personally responsible for their behavior and that they expect to feel guilty about wrongdoing.”

The study was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Levine et al., 2018).

The Simplest Of All Personality Tests Is Surprisingly Accurate

This easy test reveals your personality accurately.

This easy test reveals your personality accurately.

People are surprisingly accurate at judging their own personality, research finds.

Simply rating your own personality produces reasonably accurate results — certainly in line with how others likely view you.

When people judge themselves on the five basic personality traits, they are mostly accurate.

The five basic personality traits are:

  1. Openness to experience: curiosity and inventiveness.
  2. Conscientiousness: efficient and organised.
  3. Extraversion: outgoing and energetic.
  4. Agreeableness: friendly and compassionate.
  5. Neuroticism: nervous and sensitive.

Have a go at rating yourself on these factors right now — you probably won’t be far off.

Simply give yourself a score out of 10 for each of the five factors.

Scoring 5 is average, 1 is very low and 10 is very high.

Clue: most people tend towards the middle of the scale.

Dr Brian Connelly, study co-author, said:

“It’s widely assumed that people have rose-coloured glasses on when they consider their own personality.

We found that isn’t necessarily the case, that on average people don’t show any trend in rating themselves more favourably than they’re rated by their peers.”

The conclusions come from 160 different studies of personality.

The researchers were looking for evidence of self-enhancement.

Dr Connelly explained the results:

“We make personality judgements of ourselves and others all the time, and a popular notion is that self-reports are more positively biased … but we find little support for that in the literature.”

One reason people may not self-enhance is that they are kept in line by others, Dr Connelly said:

“People are generally attuned to the impressions they convey.

Some people may stray toward self-enhancement, or in the opposite direction with self-effacement, but there are social costs associated with both that makes the general trend for people to be accurate.”

Next, Dr Connelly plans to look at self-enhancement at work:

“It’s important to know if self-enhancers perform worse on the job or have more trouble in school.

It could be they don’t internalize negative information about themselves or even totally forget about it altogether, both of which could have negative outcomes.”

The study was published in the journal  Psychological Science (Kim et al., 2018).

5 Warning Signs Of A Toxic Personality

How to spot people with a toxic personality.

Toxic personalities can survive and even prosper in the workplace, and elsewhere, if they have one critical ingredient.

People with toxic personalities have a mixture of arrogance and deceitfulness.

People with toxic personalities:

  1. are willing to flatter others to obtain favours,
  2. to take advantage of others by cheating,
  3. enjoy showing off their higher status to others,
  4. act in an entitled way,
  5. and want to have things others do not.

However, toxic personalities can survive and even prosper in the workplace, and elsewhere, if they have one critical ingredient: social skills.

Social skills help those with toxic and dark personalities to hide their deceitful nature.

The toxic person continues to abuse trust and trick others behind a smokescreen of harmlessness.

Unfortunately, the study also revealed, others tend to view those who are good at office politics as ripe for promotion, despite their negative traits.

The good news for those that lack social skills is that honesty and humility are highly valued as well.

The conclusions come from research that reveals how people with dark personalities get ahead in the workplace.

Professor Gerhard Blickle, study co-author, said:

“Such personalities tend to focus on themselves all the time.

Good social skills enable them to deceive others.”

For the study, the researchers interviewed 203 small groups: each contained three people who were colleagues.

They provided data on the others about their personality and social skills.

The results showed that people who were dishonest and entitled could succeed at work if they had good social skills.

They tended to have better jobs and to be seen as more capable by their superiors.

However, those without social skills could still succeed at work with honesty and humility.

Professor Blickle said that rooting out toxic personalities means less emphasis on good impressions and more on performance:

“In order to slow down the ascent of toxic personalities, more attention should be paid to actual performance and less to the good impression when selecting staff and making assessments.

Here, it makes sense for instance to also look at the sickness and notice rate of employees, or customer loyalty.”

The study was published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences (Kholin et al., 2020).

The Personality Trait Linked To Looking Younger

People high on this personality trait look younger and are able to walk faster.

People high on this personality trait look younger and are able to walk faster.

Self-control is linked to aging more slowly, a study finds.

People who are better able to control their thoughts, feelings and behaviours have biologically younger brains and bodies at age 45.

This means that people with higher self-control look younger and are able to walk faster.

Those who find themselves somewhat lacking in self-control, though, should not despair.

Self-control is not set in stone and can be learned.

In addition, midlife is not too late to make changes like starting to exercise and quitting smoking.

The conclusions come from a study of almost 1,000 people in New Zealand who were tracked from birth.

The aim of the study was to see whether self-control helped people prepare for old age.

Dr Richmond-Rakerd, the study’s first author, explained:

“Our population is growing older, and living longer with age-related diseases.

It’s important to identify ways to help individuals prepare successfully for later-life challenges, and live more years free of disability.

We found that self-control in early life may help set people up for healthy aging.”

The people in the study were tracked from around the age of 3-years-old until they were 45.

As children their self-control was measured and as adults their brains and bodies were tested for physiological signs of aging.

The results revealed that people with higher self-control as children walked faster, had younger looking faces and healthier bodies overall as adults.

Professor Terrie Moffitt, study co-author, said:

“Everyone fears an old age that’s sickly, poor, and lonely, so aging well requires us to get prepared, physically, financially, and socially.

We found people who have used self-control since childhood are far more prepared for aging than their same-age peers.”

Improve your self-control

There are a variety of science-backed ways to improve your self-control.

These include positive affirmations, keeping busy, feeling grateful, abstract thinking, avoiding the ‘license to sin’, and not trying too hard.

→ Here are 10 more studies on what self-control can do for you.

→ Read on: How to change your personality.

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Richmond-Rakerd et al., 2021).

The Most Socially Attractive Personality Trait

What trait people find attractive on first impression and over the long term.

What trait people find attractive on first impression and over the long term.

Optimists are seen as more socially attractive than pessimists, research finds.

But this is just when people meet for the first time and do not know each other.

In long-term relationships, optimists are best matched with other optimists and pessimists get on with both other optimists and pessimists.

In other words, optimists mix well in long-term relationships with everyone, but pessimists can be a downer on other optimists — although they don’t seem to bother other pessimists.

The results come from a study of 248 people who read a series of vignettes that described either optimistic or pessimistic people.

Most people found the optimists more socially attractive.

However, people who were themselves optimists liked the other optimist even more.

On the other hand, people who were pessimists were not quite as keen on the optimist, but still preferred them to the pessimist.

Pessimists also had a sneaky liking for the other pessimist.

The results were more nuanced, though, when people considered their own long-term relationships.

Optimists were more satisfied when in a relationship with another optimist, and pessimists were happy with another pessimist or an optimist.

The authors write:

“…optimists may perceive a pessimistic partner as a burden, which may in turn affect their perceptions of relationship quality negatively.

Interestingly, this was not the case for pessimists, who reported the same levels of relationship quality regardless of whether they perceived their partners as pessimistic or as optimistic.”

The results support a psychological theory about interpersonal attraction called the ‘similarity-attraction hypothesis’.

The study’s authors write:

“Such a similarity attraction effect has been shown to be characteristic in the field of attitudes.

The similarity-attraction hypothesis claims that people tend to perceive others who are similar to themselves as more attractive than dissimilar others.”

The study was published in The Journal of Positive Psychology (Böhm et al., 2010).

The Personality Change That Is A Dementia Warning Sign

The results showed that people whose personality changed in this way were more likely to develop dementia.

The results showed that people whose personality changed in this way were more likely to develop dementia.

Apathy is an early warning sign of dementia in people with cerebrovascular disease, research finds.

Apathy may result from damage to the brain’s white matter, which is primarily used for communication between regions of the brain.

Cerebrovascular disease occurs in around one-in-three older people and is the most common cause of vascular dementia.

Vascular dementia is the next most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease, accounting for up to 10 percent of cases.

Older people who show a new lack of interest, enthusiasm or concern are at greater risk of developing dementia, the study found.

Previously it was thought that depression was a warning sign of dementia, but this study does not support that conclusion.

Mr Jonathan Tay, the study’s first author, said:

“There has been a lot of conflicting research on the association between late-life depression and dementia.

Our study suggests that may partially be due to common clinical depression scales not distinguishing between depression and apathy.”

The study included over 450 people from the UK and the Netherlands who were tracked for several years.

The results showed that people whose apathy increased over time were more likely to develop dementia.

Mr Tay said:

“Continued monitoring of apathy may be used to assess changes in dementia risk and inform diagnosis.

Individuals identified as having high apathy, or increasing apathy over time, could be sent for more detailed clinical examinations, or be recommended for treatment.”

The researchers think that similar mechanisms underlie cognition and motivation.

Mr Tay said:

“This implies that apathy is not a risk factor for dementia per se, but rather an early symptom of white matter network damage.

Understanding these relationships better could have major implications for the diagnosis and treatment of patients in the future.”

The study was published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry (Tay et al., 2020).

Why Women Are More Fearful Of Taking Risks Than Men (M)

One reason women are less likely to take risks with their money or careers.

One reason women are less likely to take risks with their money or careers.

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These Personality Traits Make People Happiest

Having any, some or all of these qualities is linked to living a happier life, study finds.

Having any, some or all of these qualities is linked to living a happier life, study finds.

Being enthusiastic and difficult to discourage are two of the personality traits linked to the highest well-being, research finds.

Enthusiastic people tend to have more fun in life and experience fewer negative emotions.

Being difficult to discourage is related to more positive growth, self-acceptance and greater achievement in life.

These were not the only personality factors linked to well-being.

People who are industrious, compassionate and intellectually curious are also happier, but in different ways.

Industrious people, for example, work harder towards long-term goals and are very achievement-oriented.

Compassionate people tend to feel more positive emotions and have better relationships with others.

The intellectually curious are open to new ideas and they enjoy thinking deeply and benefit from greater personal growth.

The conclusions come from a survey of 706 US adults, who were asked about their personality and different aspects of their well-being.

The study demonstrates that there are different paths to happiness.

Positive emotions are good, but so is feeling satisfied with your life, being independent, reaching life goals and experiencing personal growth.

Personality psychologists typically identify high extraverts who are low in neuroticism as the happiest people, as the study’s authors explain:

“The large literature describing the associations between personality traits and well-being suggests that extraversion (the tendency to be bold, talkative, enthusiastic, and sociable) and neuroticism (the tendency to be emotionally unstable and prone to negative emotions) are especially strong predictors of well-being.

But is wellbeing only accessible to the extraverted and non-neurotic?”

No, they argue, being a non-neurotic extravert is not the only way to be happy.

If you look more closely at personality, it turns out there are multiple paths to happiness.

The authors write:

“…the personality–well-being relation varies appreciably across personality aspects and distinct dimensions of well-being.

Not all aspects of extraversion and neuroticism are equally predictive, and aspects of conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness/intellect also have idiosyncratic, meaningful associations with distinct forms of positive functioning.”

In other words, it’s possible to be a happy, neurotic, introvert.

It’s just a kind of happiness reached via a different route.

The study was published in the Journal of Personality (Sun et al., 2018).