The Everyday Habits That Reveal Our Personalities

The Everyday Habits That Reveal Our Personalities.

The traditional focus of work on personality and behaviour has tended toward “major outcomes” such as health or antisocial behaviour, or small sets of behaviours observable over short periods in laboratories or in convenience samples. In a community sample, this study examined a wide set (400) of mundane, incidental or “every day” behavioural acts, the frequencies of which were reported over the past year. Using an exploratory methodology similar to genomic approaches (relying on the False Discovery Rate) revealed 26 prototypical acts for Intellect, 24 acts for Extraversion, 13 for Emotional Stability, nine for Conscientiousness, and six for Agreeableness. Many links were consistent with general intuition—for instance, low Conscientiousness with work and procrastination. Some of the most robust associations, however, were for acts too specific for a priori hypothesis. For instance, Extraversion was strongly associated with telling dirty jokes, Intellect with “lounging around the house without clothes on”, and Agreeableness with singing in the shower. Frequency categories for these acts changed with markedly non-linearity across Big Five Z-scores. Findings may help ground trait scores in emblematic acts, and enrich understanding of mundane or common behavioUral signatures of the Big Five.

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