Five Facts About Personality
Personality is a complex psychological construct that continues to fuel a good deal of debate and research. In fact, outside the clinical or academic world, there are people who want to understand the mechanisms that explain how we act and feel. That’s why, in the field of psychology, personality is one of the topics that arouses the most curiosity.
We could say that personality encompasses the set of attitudes, thoughts, and recurrent feelings in a person that motivates and characterizes their way of acting.
Next, we take a look at this concept by telling you five little-known facts about personality.
1. It’s related to the shape of the brain
It’s well known that personality occurs as a result of numerous factors, including social models, social experiences, and genetic factors. However, how is this reflected in personality? Are there brain substrates related to specific ways of being?
Recently, a group of researchers conducted an international study with more than 1,000 people to answer this question. They analyzed the characteristics of the cerebral cortex in different regions (thickness, size, and plasticity) and its relationship with five personality traits.
The results led them to conclude that these characteristics are related. In fact, they observed that higher levels of neuroticism were associated with greater thickness of the prefrontal and temporal cortex. On the other hand, their size and plasticity were smaller.
In addition, the researchers found that the most creative and curious people had a thinner prefrontal cortex. However, it was more extensive and plastic.
2. It consolidates over 30 years
One of the biggest curiosities about personality is whether it remains stable over time or whether it changes. In fact, many people think that ‘people don’t change’ and that the way they behave today will be similar in the future. On the other hand, there’s talk of how certain people change radically over the space of a few years.
Scientific evidence has supported both approaches. Apparently, once the personality has been built, there’s great stability over the years in the basic traits that characterize an individual. Nevertheless, with age, variations are shown in the quantity or intensity of indicators of a certain trait. One example of this is that less open-mindedness and more responsible behaviors are shown.
Experts have tried to figure out if there’s a moment in the life cycle when it can be considered that the personality is consolidated, formed, and coherent. They’ve come to the conclusion that, in general, after the age of 30, the personality changes that tend to occur are subtle and insignificant.
3. 50 percent is due to genetics
Decades of research have claimed that a good part of the personality depends on its genetic inheritance.
In fact, it’s now known that the coefficient of heritability of personality is between 40-60 percent for the big five personality traits. Non-shared environmental factors contribute to the rest and the shared ones have a null or really low effect. Therefore, personality can be explained 50 percent by genetic inheritance and 50 percent by individual experiences.
Age is also a factor that must be taken into consideration. It seems that genetics provides a foundation on which to begin to develop personality but, as the years go by, the individual’s personal experience begins to gain ground.
4. It conditions our tastes
Logically, our way of being will condition our preferences and our tastes build our personalities. That said, the scope of this relationship is rather curious as it affects musical tastes, food, and even political preferences.
For example, one study found that narcissistic and antisocial personalities show a preference for more bitter tastes. On the other hand, people with higher agreeableness tend to reject them. Regarding political preferences, a Canadian study concluded that people who considered themselves politically conservative were polite, and those who considered themselves to be liberal were compassionate.
What about musical tastes? In an investigation conducted with 36,000 people, it was observed that people who love rock/heavy metal were friendlier, creative, and often introverted with low self-esteem. Those who enjoyed jazz, soul, and blues presented more extroversion and higher self-esteem. They were also more creative, intelligent, and calm.
5. It’s susceptible to disorders
This is perhaps less of a curious fact and more of a little-known one. Indeed, few people know that personality disorders exist and cause a lot of damage to sufferers. In short, they consist of poorly adaptive patterns of thoughts and behaviors. This means that sufferers experience problems in perceiving and relating to situations and people, thus limiting their different spheres of life.
These disorders are classified into three groups based on the nature of thoughts and behavior: eccentric and strange, emotional and unpredictable, or anxious and fearful.
- Among the first group are paranoid, schizoid, and schizotypal personality disorders.
- Disorders that show excessive emotionality include antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder.
- The third group includes avoidant personality disorders, dependent personality disorders, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorders.
These are just a few facts about personality. However, it’s such a broad field of knowledge that we never stop learning new facts about it.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Owens, M. M., Courtland, S. H., Gray, J. C., Carter, N. T., MacKillop, J., Miller, J. D. & Sweet, L. H. (2019). Cortical morphometry of the five-factor model of personality: findings from the Human Connectome Project full sample. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 14(4), 381–395, https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsz017
- Bermúdez Moreno, J., Pérez-García, A. M., Ruiz Caballero, J. A., Sanjuán Suárez, P. & Rueda Laffond, B. (2011). Psicología de la personalidad. Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia.
- Sagioglou, C. & Greitmeyer, T. (2016). Individual differences in bitter taste preferences are associated with antisocial personality traits. Apetite, 96, 299-308. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2015.09.031
- Hirsh, J. B. , Deyoung, C. G., Xiaowen, X., Peterson, J.B. (2010). Compassionate liberals and polite conservatives: associations of agreeableness with political ideology and moral values. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36(5), 655-664. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167210366854
- North, A. C. (2010). Individual Differences in Musical Taste. The American Journal of Psychology, 123(2), 199–208. https://doi.org/10.5406/amerjpsyc.123.2.0199