2 Fascinating Signs Of A Stronger Immune System

These two personality traits are linked to having a stronger immune system.

These two personality traits are linked to having a stronger immune system.

People with a positive and uninhibited personality tend to have a stronger immune system, research finds.

People with stable emotions, who are extraverted and outgoing also tend to have lower activation of their immune system, suggesting it is more healthy.

People who are extraverted tend to be focused on the world around them and are most happy when surrounded by people and when active.

Two signs that a person has a positive and outgoing personality are strongly disagreeing with both the following statements:

  • “I often find myself worrying about something.”
  • “I would rather keep people at a distance.”

The conclusions come partly from a study which found that people who are extraverted and have stable emotions are at lower risk of dying from peripheral artery disease.

In contrast, at the other end of the spectrum, a negative, inhibited personality is linked to a weaker immune system.

This type of negative personality is sometimes known as ‘type D’, where D stands for distressed.

The study’s authors explain:

“Preliminary evidence suggests that personality traits such as hostility may also be associated with the severity and progression of atherosclerosis [plaque buildup] in patients with PAD.

Another potential individual risk factor in this context is the distressed personality type (type D).

Type D refers to the joint tendency to experience negative emotions and to inhibit self-expression in social interaction.”

The researchers tracked 184 patients with peripheral artery disease.

The results showed that people with a type D personality were at higher risk of dying.

A type D personality refers to people who are neurotic and introverted.

One of the reasons for the link may be, the authors write:

“…inadequate self-management of chronic disease is a potential behavioral mechanism that may explain the relation between type D personality and poor prognosis in cardiovascular disease.”

The study was published in the journal The Archives of Surgery (Aquarius et al., 2009).

Are You A Worrier? Study Reveals An Unexpected Upside Of Being Neurotic (M)

Being neurotic might have a surprising benefit to physical health.

Being neurotic might have a surprising benefit to physical health.

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The Personality Trait That Indicates High Intelligence (M)

The study had 129 people given tests of personality and intelligence.

The study had 129 people given tests of personality and intelligence.

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The Personality Trait Linked To A Stronger Immune System (M)

This personality trait is linked to low levels of interleukin-6, which is often a marker that the immune system is functioning better.

This personality trait is linked to low levels of interleukin-6, which is often a marker that the immune system is functioning better.

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The Personality Trait That Is A Sign Of Poor Mental Health

This personality trait is linked to mental health problems.

This personality trait is linked to mental health problems.

Being impulsive can be a sign of poor mental health, research finds.

People who are impulsive tend to prefer a small immediate reward over a larger reward later on.

Impulsive people tend to act on their immediate thoughts and emotions without thinking about the consequences.

In other words, impulsive people want to have fun now, not later — even if waiting is more sensible.

People who are depressed, have bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or some eating disorders are more likely to be impulsive.

Psychologists can measure this type of impulsivity with a test of  ‘delay discounting’.

Delay discounting is the idea that people tend to discount a reward more, the longer the delay until they receive it.

So, psychologically, $5 right now is worth more than $10 in three weeks time.

Or, as the proverb has it: a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

People who can delay their gratification find it easier to wait for their rewards.

However, people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder find it particularly hard to delay gratification.

The conclusions come from a review of 43 separate studies.

Dr Michael Amlung, the study’s first author, said:

“The revelation that delay discounting is one of these ‘trans-diagnostic’ processes will have a significant effect on the future of psychiatric diagnosis and treatment.”

Among people with mental health problems, though, anorexia was the exception.

People with anorexia tend to make excessively self-controlling decisions.

This makes sense given that anorexia is a disorder characterised by a very high level of self-control over eating behaviours.

Professor Randi McCabe, study co-author, said:

“Examining factors that cut across psychiatric disorders, such as delay discounting, helps to illuminate commonalities and distinguishing characteristics amongst disorders that then guide further research on treatment and prevention.”

The study was published in JAMA Psychiatry (Amlung et al., 2019).

3 Personality Traits Linked To A Stronger Immune System

People with these three personality traits tend to have stronger immune systems.

People with these three personality traits tend to have stronger immune systems.

Personality traits and the immune system display some fascinating connections, research finds.

For example, contrary to conventional beliefs, outgoing and sociable individuals are found to exhibit the strongest immune responses.

This challenges the assumption that carefulness is synonymous with robust health.

Here are three ways research has found connections between personality and the immune system.

1. Introverts versus extroverts

Outgoing, sociable people have the strongest immune systems, a study finds.

Those who are the most careful, though, are more likely to have a weaker immune system response.

The research found no evidence, though, that a tendency towards negative emotions was associated with poor health.

2. Optimists versus pessimists

Optimists have healthier hearts than pessimists, a study of over 51,000 adults has found.

Optimists tend to have stronger immune systems, which may be part of the reason.

Professor Rosalba Hernandez, who led the study, said:

“Individuals with the highest levels of optimism have twice the odds of being in ideal cardiovascular health compared to their more pessimistic counterparts.

This association remains significant, even after adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics and poor mental health.”

Optimists also had healthier body mass indexes, were more physically active and less likely to smoke.

Researchers found that the more optimistic people were, the greater their overall physical health.

The most optimistic people were 76% more likely to have health scores that were in the ideal range.

3. Conscientiousness

Men with conscientious personality traits and those who are open to experience live longer, a study has found.

Consciousness has repeatedly been linked to a stronger immune system.

For women, those who are more agreeable and emotionally stable enjoy a longer life.

This means that for women the best personality traits for a long life are:

  1. Extroversion
  2. Optimism
  3. Agreeableness
  4. Emotional stability

Whereas for men, the best traits are:

  1. Extroversion
  2. Optimism
  3. Conscientiousness
  4. Openness to experience

Ask your friends

The kicker is that it’s your friends — not you — who are better at judging these personality traits from the outside…

…and consequently predicting how long you will live and even how strong your immune system might be.

Dr Joshua Jackson, the author of a study on the subject, said:

“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.

[…]

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.

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.”

.

2 Personality Traits That Protect Against Dementia (M)

Some people who have quite extensive damage to their brains from dementia can continue to function well, perhaps because of these personality traits.

Some people who have quite extensive damage to their brains from dementia can continue to function well, perhaps because of these personality traits.

People who score highly on the personality traits of extraversion and conscientiousness are less likely to be diagnosed with dementia, a study finds.

However, those who are neurotic are at an increased risk of a dementia diagnosis.

Experiencing more negative emotions was also linked by the research to a higher risk of dementia, while positive emotions lowered the risk.

The theory is that personality and the emotions make people more or less resilient against dementia by influencing behaviour.

Signs of pathology

The conclusions come from a review of 8 separate studies including over 44,000 people.

The study looked at markers of neurodegeneration in the brain, explained Dr Eileen Graham, study co-author:

“We’ve seen in previous research that if someone is higher in neuroticism, they have higher odds of being clinically diagnosed with dementia, whereas those higher in conscientiousness have lower odds of developing dementia.

However, those clinical diagnoses are typically based on assessments of cognition.

We wondered how personality traits might be related to clinically diagnosed dementia compared to dementia based on neuropathology markers assessed at autopsy.”

They found that while personality was linked to dementia risk, it was not explained by any signs of pathology in the brain.

Dr Emorie Beck, the study’s first author, said:

“This was the most surprising finding to us.

If personality is predictive of performance on cognitive tests but not pathology, what might be happening?”

Withstanding dementia

A probable explanation is that some personality traits help people withstand the onset of dementia better than others.

For example, conscientious people are more likely to take care of their health, including eating well.

Perhaps the higher sociability of extraverted people also helps protect them against dementia.

Some people who have quite extensive damage to their brains from dementia may continue to function well because of these personality traits.

It may be possible to target personality traits to reduce dementia risk, said Dr Graham:

“Neuroticism is related to dementia decline, and people with neuroticism are more prone to anxiousness, moodiness and worry whereas conscientious people are more likely to exercise, make and go to preventive health appointments and drink less.

So maybe that’s where an intervention might be useful to improve someone’s health behaviors for better health outcomes.”

No other factors, including gender, age or education explained the link between dementia risk and personality, said Dr Beck:

“We found almost no evidence for effects, except that conscientiousness’s protective effect increased with age.”

Related

The study was published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia (Beck et al., 2023).

2 Personality Traits That Are Linked To Dementia Risk

People high in one trait are less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment, which can be a precursor to dementia.

People high in one trait are less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment, which can be a precursor to dementia.

Self-disciplined and highly organised people are at a reduced risk of dementia.

These are both aspects of conscientiousness, one of the five major aspects of personality.

Conscientious people tend to be goal-directed and hard-working as well as responsible and organised.

People who are high in conscientiousness are less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment, which can be a precursor to dementia, researchers have found.

In contrast, being emotionally unstable is linked to an increased risk of dementia.

Known as neuroticism, the personality trait is linked to anxiety and depression as well as a greater experience of negative emotions.

Dr Tomiko Yoneda, the study’s first author, said:

“Personality traits reflect relatively enduring patterns of thinking and behaving, which may cumulatively affect engagement in healthy and unhealthy behaviors and thought patterns across the lifespan.

The accumulation of lifelong experiences may then contribute to susceptibility of particular diseases or disorders, such as mild cognitive impairment, or contribute to individual differences in the ability to withstand age-related neurological changes.”

The study involved almost 2,000 people enrolled in the Rush Memory and Aging Project, a long-term study tracking older adults in Illinois.

The results showed that higher conscientiousness was linked to a lower risk of dementia and higher neuroticism was linked to an increased risk of dementia.

Dr Yoneda explained:

“Scoring approximately six more points on a conscientiousness scale ranging 0 to 48 was associated with a 22% decreased risk of transitioning from normal cognitive functioning to mild cognitive impairment.

Additionally, scoring approximately seven more points on a neuroticism scale of 0 to 48 was associated with a 12% increased risk of transition.”

Eighty-year-olds high in conscientiousness were likely to live around two years longer without cognitive impairment.

They were also more likely to recover to normal cognition after receiving a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment.

High neuroticism, though, was linked to a year less living without cognitive impairment.

The study was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Yoneda et al., 2022).

What Being Realistic Or Pessimistic Reveals About Your Intelligence (M)

Human beings are mostly primed by evolution to be optimistic, but it is not always the best policy.

Human beings are mostly primed by evolution to be optimistic, but it is not always the best policy.

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This Personality Trait Is A Sign Of High Fluid Intelligence

Fluid intelligence refers to the raw speed at which the brain works.

Fluid intelligence refers to the raw speed at which the brain works.

A hunger for new, unconventional ideas is one of the strongest indicators of high IQ, research finds.

People with high IQs are intellectually curious and enjoy things like unusual activities, philosophical arguments and brain teasers.

This desire for new ideas is linked to an aspect of IQ called fluid intelligence.

Fluid intelligence refers to the speed at which the brain works.

It is like the raw power of an engine or the speed at which a computer can process information.

Fluid intelligence is contrasted with crystallised intelligence.

Crystallised intelligence is something like general knowledge: the information that people have learnt about the world over the years.

The conclusions come from a study of 2,658 employees working at 10 different companies in the UK.

They were all given tests of personality and intelligence.

The results showed that high fluid intelligence was linked to hunger for new ideas.

Like an interest in ideas, being willing to try new activities was also linked to intelligence, the authors write:

“Actions refers to willingness to try different activities, and to a preference for novelty and variety over familiarity and routine.

Fluid intelligence involves things like reaction times, quick thinking, reasoning, seeing relationships and approaching new problems.

This means that individuals high on [fluid intelligence] have an innate ability to cope more efficiently with novel experiences, and to deal with intellectually stimulating tasks such as brain teasers, which would thus make it rewarding for them to pursuit such activities.

Similarly, individuals low on [fluid intelligence] may in time grow to avoid such activities, due to their low ability to handle them, which would thus make them less rewarding.”

The study was published in the journal Learning and Individual Differences (Moutafi et al., 2006).

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