This Personality Trait Protects Against Loneliness

People like this enjoy being exposed to diverse viewpoints and others look to them for advice.

People like this enjoy being exposed to diverse viewpoints and others look to them for advice.

Wisdom protects people against loneliness, a study suggests.

People high in two particular components of wisdom — empathy and compassion — were especially unlikely to become lonely, the researchers found.

Wisdom is a personality trait: typically, wise people enjoy being exposed to diverse viewpoints and other people look to them for advice.

Wise people are also skilled at filtering negative emotions and do not postpone major decisions.

Professor Dilip Jeste, the study’s first author, said:

“An important finding from our study was a significant inverse correlation between loneliness and wisdom.

People with higher scores on a measure of wisdom were less lonely and vice versa.

Loneliness was consistently associated with poor general health, worse quality of sleep and less happiness, whereas the reverse was generally true for wisdom.”

The study included older adults in a relatively isolated, rural area of Italy.

The researchers also surveyed people living in San Diego, an urban/suburban area in the US.

All were asked about various components of wisdom, including compassion, empathy, emotional regulation and self-reflection.

The results showed that people who were high in empathy and compassion were particularly unlikely to feel lonely.

Professor Jeste said:

“Both loneliness and wisdom are personality traits.

Most personality traits are partially inherited and partially determined by environment.”

Like many other personality traits, wisdom can be difficult to change, but not impossible.

Dr David Brenner, study co-author, said:

“If we can increase someone’s compassion, wisdom is likely to go up and loneliness is likely to go down.

At UC San Diego, we have considerable interest in enhancing empathy and compassion to reduce levels of stress and improve happiness and well-being.”

Professor Jeste said:

“So how do you increase compassion? Utilizing approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy or writing in a gratitude diary can help someone become more compassionate.”

The study was published in the journal Aging and Mental Health (Jeste et al., 2020).

The Best Remedy For A Perfectionist Personality

When a perfectionist slips up, they criticise themselves too much and can experience burnout and depression.

When a perfectionist slips up, they criticise themselves too much and can experience burnout and depression.

Being self-compassionate is one of the best remedies for a perfectionist personality, research finds.

Learning self-acceptance helps protect the type of perfectionists who are highly self-critical from depression.

Some perfectionists are very worried about making mistakes and push themselves too hard to succeed.

When a perfectionist slips up, they criticise themselves too much and can experience burnout and depression.

However, perfectionists who are self-compassionate and self-accepting are less likely to get depressed.

  • A practical approach to boosting self-compassion is explained in my ebook “Accept Yourself“.

The conclusion comes from a study of 541 adolescents and 515 adults.

All were given tests of perfectionism, depression and self-compassion.

Dr Madeleine Ferrari, the study’s first author, explained the results:

“Self-compassion, the practice of self-kindness, consistently reduces the strength of the relationship between maladaptive perfectionism and depression for both adolescents and adults.”

The study’s authors explain how self-compassion is helpful:

“…self-compassion is ‘a useful emotion regulation strategy, in which painful or distressing feelings are not avoided but are instead held in awareness with kindness, understanding, and a sense of shared humanity’.

Thus, instead of avoiding social comparisons or overcompensating for negative feelings about the self through futile attempts to attain a higher social rank, the cultivation of self-compassion might help individuals to unconditionally accept ones’ failings.”

The study was published in the journal PLoS ONE (Ferrari et al., 2018).

An Obvious Early Sign Of An Introvert

The signs of a reserved personality can be seen at 14-months-old.

The signs of a reserved personality can be seen at 14-months-old.

People who are inhibited as children tend to grow up into reserved introverts, research finds.

Inhibition as a child involves cautious, fearful and avoidant behaviour towards unfamiliar objects, people and situations.

Children who show this sort of behaviour are at a greater risk for anxiety disorders and social withdrawal later on.

People showing this pattern early on were also likely to have fewer romantic partners and lower social functioning, the study found.

However, being reserved had no negative effects on people’s success in education or employment.

Dr Daniel Pine, study co-author, said:

“While many studies link early childhood behavior to risk for psychopathology, the findings in our study are unique.

This is because our study assessed temperament very early in life, linking it with outcomes occurring more than 20 years later through individual differences in neural processes.”

The study involved 165 infants who were tracked first at 14 months-old, then at 15-years-old and later at 26-years-old.

Dr Nathan Fox, study co-author, said:

“It is amazing that we have been able to keep in touch with this group of people over so many years.

First their parents, and now they, continue to be interested and involved in the work.”

In adolescence they were given a wide variety of psychological and neurophysiological tests.

One test was for people’s ‘error related negativity’ — in other words, how sensitive they were to making mistakes.

People who are highly sensitive to their mistakes tend to develop anxiety-related problems.

Those who are not sensitive enough to their mistakes are at risk of problems like substance abuse and impulsive behaviour.

The results showed that infants who were inhibited tended to grow up into reserved adults.

Dr Fox said:

“We have studied the biology of behavioral inhibition over time and it is clear that it has a profound effect influencing developmental outcome.”

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Tang et al., 2020).

The Major Personality Type Linked To Depression Risk

Among the major personality traits, it shows the strongest link to depression.

Among the major personality traits, it shows the strongest link to depression.

Negative emotionality is linked to a higher risk of depression, data from millions of people finds.

Negative emotionality, or being neurotic, involves a tendency towards fear and worry.

People who are neurotic are more likely to experience negative emotions like fear, jealousy, guilt, worry and envy.

The good news is that a depressive personality can be changed, contrary to what many people think.

The study’s conclusions come from analysing data from over two million people.

Their DNA revealed 269 genes related to depression.

Certain genes were also related to some lifestyle choice, like smoking.

The study shows that experiencing depression is linked to personality, which is partly controlled by genes.

Dr Raliza Stoyanova, of Wellcome, who funded the study, said:

“This large study is an important advance in understanding how genetic variability might contribute to risk for depression.

Given that current treatments work for only half of those who need them, the study provides some intriguing clues for future research to follow up — for example that biological pathways involved in developing the condition may not be the same as those involved in responding to treatment.”

Dr Sophie Dix, Director of Research at mental health charity MQ, said:

“This study adds to the weight of evidence that genes are one of the key risk factors in depression, which is also impacted by life events such as social environment and trauma.

The value of this could really be seen when looking into the development of personalised treatments — a welcome step given the dearth of innovation in identifying new approaches.

We have seen very little advancement in nearly 50 years for people living with depression and right now the avenues available are not working for everyone.”

The study was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience (Howard et al., 2019).

The Childhood Personality Trait That Makes You Popular

The trait is intrinsically rewarding.

The trait is intrinsically rewarding.

Being fun is the childhood personality trait that makes kids popular, research shows.

Children rated as more fun tend to have more classmates who like them and more who rate them as popular.

Those rated as fun accrue a higher status among their peers which leads to more opportunities since fun kids tend to group together to practice their skills.

Professor Brett Laursen, the study’s first author, said:

“We had good reasons to suspect that being fun would uniquely contribute to a child’s social status.

Obviously, fun is intrinsically rewarding.

Fun peers are rewarding companions and rewarding companions enjoy higher social status than non-rewarding companions.

But the benefits of fun probably extend well beyond their immediate rewards.

Fun experiences provide positive stimulation that promotes creativity.

Being fun can protect against rejection insofar as it raises the child’s worth to the group and minimizes the prospect that others will habituate to the child’s presence.

Finally, changes in the brain in the early middle school years increase the salience of rewards derived from novelty, in general, and fun, in particular.

Children and adolescents are, quite literally, fun-seekers.”

The study included 1,573 children aged 9-12 who were asked to rate their peers likeability, popularity and how fun they were.

The results revealed that being fun was central to who was liked and popular.

Being fun makes children more rewarding companions, said Professor Laursen:

“One potential combination is surgency and ego resilience, which make the child a novel and exciting companion.

Fun children are probably also socially adept, and have high levels of perspective-taking and social skills.”

Being well-liked is a very handy trait, said Professor Laursen:

“Well-liked children present few adjustment difficulties and tend to succeed where others do not.

Popularity is highly coveted by children and adolescents; many value it above being liked.”

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

11 Surprising Facts About Personality

Facts about personality include that people can smell your personality, helpful people have more sex and what underlies personality disorders.

Facts about personality include that people can smell your personality, helpful people have more sex and what underlies personality disorders.

The psychological study of personality reveals patterns in how we behave and interact with other people and experience the world ourselves.

Many of the facts from personality psychology are surprising.

Here are a few fun facts that psychological research has uncovered:

1. People can smell your personality

People can guess your personality by simply smelling your t-shirt.

The study showed that people were as accurate at guessing personality when smelling their clothes as when watching a video of them.

Not all personality traits were easy to spot, though.

The researchers found that people were good at identifying these three personality traits:

  • neuroticism,
  • extraversion,
  • and dominance.

2. Helpful people have more sex

People who help others out have more sex.

The more altruistic people are, the more sexual partners they have and the more frequently they have sex.

Could it be, then, that being nice to other people is the ultimate aphrodisiac?

Who would have thought this was a fact about personality?

Professor Steven Arnocky, the study’s first author, said:

“It appears that altruism evolved in our species, in part, because it serves as a signal of other underlying desirable qualities, which helps individuals reproduce.”

3. Fact: optimists report higher quality of life

Optimists report higher levels of mental and physical functioning than pessimists, research reveals.

Dr Toshihiko Maruta, the study’s first author, said:

“The wellness of being is not just physical, but attitudinal.

How you perceive what goes on around you and how you interpret it may have an impact on your longevity, and it could affect the quality of your later years.”

Researchers studied 447 people who were followed over 30 years.

Their personality was assessed, along with their physical and mental functioning.

It turned out that pessimists had a lower quality of life, on average.

4. People read personality in your movement

The way people move could provide a unique insight into their personality.

People who move in similar ways display better collective behaviour.

The researchers think this means that people who move the same way will be able to interact more effectively as well.

This interesting study suggests that each person has an ‘individual motor signature’ which defines how they move.

5. Being in love reduces neuroticism

Falling in love helps to stabilise the personalities of people who are neurotic.

Love helps people who think pessimistically to approach life with more confidence and see events in a more positive light.

Neuroticism is explained by Dr Christine Finn, the study’s first author:

“Neurotic people are rather anxious, insecure, and easily annoyed.

They have a tendency towards depression, often show low self-esteem and tend to be generally dissatisfied with their lives.

However, we were able to show that they become more stable in a love relationship, and that their personality stabilizes.”

6. Feeling entitled leads to disappointment

The personality trait of entitlement can lead to chronic disappointment.

Entitlement is believing you are better than others and deserve more than them.

Unfortunately, people who feel entitled often enter a spiral of habitual behaviour that is toxic.

From anger they tend to lash out at others, blaming them.

At the same time they continue to tell themselves that they are special.

7. People get nicer as they get older

People get nicer as they get older, in contrast to the stereotype of the grumpy senior.

The fact may be a surprise to those that believe people never change.

They do — even if only a little.

The three main changes to personality that occur, on average, with age are that people get:

  • more conscientious,
  • more agreeable,
  • and less neurotic (moody).

8. Fear of the unknown related to anxiety disorders

Fear of the unknown is the personality trait that underlies many anxiety disorders.

Social anxiety, panic disorder and specific phobias all have fear of the unknown at their heart.

Someone who is sensitive to uncertainty may spend a lot of time worrying what is going to happen to them.

For example, people with panic disorder are constantly worrying that they are going to panic.

9. People read our personalities with one glance

People read a surprising amount into our faces, just from one glance.

Men who have large noses, square jaws and small eyes, are apparently telling the world they prefer short-term relationships, research finds.

Women with larger lips and wide eyes are sending the same short-term relationship signal — whether they like it or not.

10. Narcissists like bitter foods

Having a preference for bitter tastes is linked to psychopathy, narcissism and everyday sadism.

This fun fact about personality suggest that a predilection for tonic water or coffee, therefore, could indicated some psychopathic tendencies in a person’s personality.

In contrast, people who dislike bitter tastes tend to be more agreeable, the researchers discovered.

11. Optimists live longer

Being positive has been linked to living longer by research.

People lived longer if they were more:

  • optimistic about the future,
  • closer to other people,
  • decisive,
  • and felt more useful and relaxed.

Those who scored in the top sixth for being positive were 18 percent less likely to die over the next four years.

Other facts about a person linked to living longer included getting married and having a degree.


The Personality Type Linked To Poor Mental Health

Around one-in-five people are thought to have this personality type.

Around one-in-five people are thought to have this personality type.

People who experience a lot of negative emotions and do not express them have more mental and physical health problems, research finds.

This is known to psychologists as a ‘type D’ personality: the ‘D’ stands for distressed.

People with a type D personality are likely to agree with statements like, “I am often down in the dumps”.

They are also likely to demonstrate social inhibition by agreeing with statements like, “I am a closed kind of person”.

Type D people are fearful of rejection if they express their negative emotions.

Around one-in-five people is thought to have a type D personality.

The study found that people who were type D tended not to report their health problems to a physician or nurse.

The study’s authors write:

“Type D patients were shown to report lower levels of health status, more cardiac symptoms, and more feelings of disability, when compared with non-Type D patients high on positive affect.”

The study involved 276 heart failure patients.

The results showed that heart failure patients who also had a type D personality were six times more likely to be in a worse state of health.

The study was published in the journal Quality of Life Research (Pelle et al., 2009).

Nasty People Lack This One Vital Quality — Which Leads To Misery

There are three ways to find meaning in life, all of which dark personalities deny themselves.

There are three ways to find meaning in life, all of which dark personalities deny themselves.

Patience is one vital trait lacking in psychopaths, narcissists and people with ‘dark personalities’, research finds.

Without patience, people with dark personalities find it hard to obtain satisfaction from their work and love lives.

Impatience means they move from one partner to another and do not commit fully to their work.

Without committing to work and other people, it is very difficult to find meaning in life.

Patience helps people get through difficult situations without being aggressive — something that dark personality types cannot often manage.

Psychopaths, in particular, are highly impulsive, often acting without thinking or controlling themselves.

The study’s authors explain:

“Psychopathy features impulsivity, antisocial behaviors, and lack of empathy; those who score high on psychopathy scales are prone to seeking thrills.”

Similarly, narcissists find criticism very difficult to deal with — they hold grudges and will lash out.

The study’s authors explain:

“Narcissism refers to a feeling of grandiose self-worth such
that those who score high on narcissism often appear dominant and egotistical.

Narcissists commonly experience feelings of superiority over others and can be quite aggressive when they sense that their self-esteem is under threat.”

The conclusions come from 434 people working for a Chinese company.

All were surveyed about their patience, how much meaning they experienced in life and any dark personality traits.

People with any of the so-called ‘dark triad’ of personality traits of psychopathy, Machiavellianism and narcissism had low levels of patience and experienced reduced meaning in life.

The authors write that there are three critical ways to find meaning in life:

“…the first is “creating a work or doing a deed”, which is supported by the finding that meaning is positively related with work engagement; the second is love, which is supported by the finding that meaning in life has a significant positive correlation with nourishing relationships; and the last is enduring unavoidable suffering…”

The Chinese study discussed the importance of patience within Buddhism.

Buddhism defines patience as involving three elements:

“The first is the patience to endure suffering, willingly, namely to accept both mental and physical suffering with gratitude.

The second is the patience to not retaliate against harm, namely to withstand harm caused by others, and respond with forgiveness and loving-kindness rather than anger or hatred.

Third, the patience to thoroughly scrutinize phenomena, namely to bear with uncertainty and insecurity, and to see things as they truly are…”

The study was published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life (Wang et al., 2018).

Meditation: The Amazing Ways It Changes Your Personality

The longer people had been practising meditation, the more their personalities had changed.

The longer people had been practising meditation, the more their personalities had changed.

Meditation is linked to higher levels of extraversion and openness to experience and lower levels of neuroticism, research finds.

Neuroticism is a personality trait that is strongly linked to anxiety, sadness, irritability and self-consciousness.

Extraversion, along with its well-known attribute of engaging with other people, is linked to higher levels of positive emotionality.

In other words, people who meditate probably experience more positive emotions and fewer negative emotions.

Openness to experience is the quality of being receptive and curious, as well as imaginative and sensitive to feelings.

The conclusions come from a study of 70 people, half of whom were experienced mindfulness meditators.

All completed personality questionnaires.

The study’s authors explain that mindfulness was linked with:

“…higher levels of curiosity and receptivity to new experiences and experience of positive affect and with less proneness toward negative emotions and worrying and a reduced focus on achievements.”

The results also showed that the longer people had been practising meditation, the more their personalities had changed.

They showed higher levels of openness and extraversion and lower levels of neuroticism with more meditation.

Mindfulness may be particularly effective at increasing openness to experience, because it…

“…initiates the voluntary exposure to a wide range of thoughts, emotions, and experiences suggests that increases in openness can be expected due to the practice of MM [mindfulness meditation].”

The benefits of mindfulness in lowering neuroticism likely result from…

“…the clear intention to acknowledge and accept all thoughts and feelings as they arise in a non-judgmental way is in a sense revolutionary and can be hypothesized to reduce vulnerability to be lost in repetitive cycles of negative thoughts and worry.”

→ Read on: How to change your personality

The study was published in the journal Mindfulness (van den Hurk et al., 2011).

The Strong Personality Trait That Indicates High IQ

This character trait is linked to a high IQ.

This character trait is linked to a high IQ.

Being conscientious is linked to having a high IQ, but only among females, a study finds.

People who are conscientious are more careful, efficient and self-disciplined — and they aim for achievement.

Among males, however, those who are more careless and indifferent have higher IQs.

The study of school children also found that introverts who are conscientious get the best grades.

Fear may also be a factor in driving up grades, the Swedish research found, since neurotic pupils got better grades.

Neurotic people tend to worry more, which may motivate them to work harder if their worries are stoked by the system.

Ms Pia Rosander, the study’s first author, said:

“We have a school system in Sweden that favours conscientious and fear-driven pupils.

It is not good for psychological well-being in the long term if fear is a driving force.

It also prevents in-depth learning, which happens best among the open personality types who are driven by curiosity.”

The study included 200 pupils entering secondary school at 16 who were followed for three years.

The results revealed that girls who were eager to please got better grades.

On the other hand, boys were more likely to be curious, but the system tended not to feed their curiosity.

Ms Rosander said:

“Greater conscientiousness, i.e. getting things done, arriving on time, etc. may be a way for boys to compensate for a lower IQ.”

The study also found that introverts get better grades, probably because extraverts have so much to distract them.

Ms Rosander said:

“My studies clearly show that the school system needs to be more individualised.

How else can we support talented pupils with the ‘wrong’ personality type, those we call under-performers, who are capable but lack the ability to plan their school work, for example?”

The study was published in the journal Learning and Individual Differences (Rosander et al., 2011).