By Brad Bell
Social interest is an important personality characteristic that reflects an interest in others and being concerned about others. People who are high in social interest are likely to value being sympathetic, considerate, and helpful. Social relationships are important to many people. They may be a primary source of happiness and meaning in life. Social interest may be related to happiness because our lives seem more meaningful. Feeling connected to others and concerned about others may be a primary source of finding meaning in life.
Crandall (1980) found that among college students there was a statistically significant positive correlation between social interest and happiness for two measures of happiness. (1) Thus, greater social interest was associated with greater happiness. However, because these findings are correlational, we cannot make causal conclusions from the findings. There may be other variables that could explain the relation between social interest and happiness. (2)
1. There was a significant positive correlation between social interest and happiness for both measures of happiness in the total sample. However, only one of the two happiness measures was significantly correlated with social interest among men. Moreover, only one of the two happiness measures was significantly correlated with social interest among women. The measure of happiness that was significantly correlated with social interest among men was different from the measure of happiness that was significantly correlated with social interest for women.
2. See Crandall’s article for information on other findings.
Crandall, J. E. (1980). Adler’s concept of social interest: Theory, measurement, and implications for adjustment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39, 481-495.
By Brad Bell
Imagine that you have a friend who is highly extraverted and imaginative. Would these personality characteristics be related to your friend’s music preferences?
In two of their studies, Rentfrow and Gosling (2003) investigated relations between music preferences and personality. There were four categories of music preferences. These can be viewed as four types of music. These were labeled Intense and Rebellious (e.g., rock), Reflective and Complex (e.g., jazz), Upbeat and Conventional (e.g., country), and Energetic and Rhythmic (e.g., electronica/dance). Five of the personality dimensions included in their studies were extraversion (e.g., how sociable you are), conscientiousness, openness to experience (e.g., how imaginative you are), agreeableness (e.g., how cooperative you are), and emotional stability. (1) In both studies, a greater preference for Reflective and Complex music was associated with greater openness to experience. Moreover, in both studies, a greater preference for Intense and Rebellious music and was associated with greater openness to experience. Also, in both studies, a greater preference for Upbeat and Conventional music was associated with greater extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. In contrast, in both studies, a greater preference for Upbeat and Conventional music was associated with less openness to experience. In both studies, a greater preference for Energetic and Rhythmic music was associated with greater extraversion and agreeableness. (2)
These findings suggest that we may be able to predict a person’s personality from their music preferences. It is possible that a person’s personality may determine the type of music he or she listens to. For example, a highly extraverted person may choose to listen to music that is energetic. Moreover, a person who is high in openness to experience may choose to listen to music that is complex. However, because these findings are correlational, we cannot make causal conclusions.
1. See their article for information about other measures in the studies.
2. These are only some of the significant correlations found between music preferences and personality. See their article for information on other findings.
Rentfrow, P. J., & Gosling, S. D. (2003). The do, re, mi’s of everyday life: The structure and personality correlates of music preferences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 1236-1256.
By Brad Bell
One’s personality traits may explain many behaviors. These personality traits may be conceptualized as behavioral scripts that involve beliefs about how one should or wishes to behave in certain situations. Thus, it stands to reason that personality traits may explain food choices.
Keller and Siegrist (2015) addressed whether the Big Five traits were correlated with the consumption of certain foods. The Big Five traits include extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, openness to experience, and agreeableness. Keller and Siegrist (2015), for example, found that greater openness to experience was associated with a greater consumption of eating fruit and a vegetable salad. People who are high in openness to experience may prefer a greater a variety of food, and this may explain greater consumption of fruit and a vegetable salad.
However, it should be kept in mind that one cannot make causal conclusions from correlational findings. Two variables can be correlated without there being a causal relationship. There could be third variables that explain any correlational finding. Thus, for example, a correlation between a personality trait and consumption for a certain type of food may reflect some other personality trait or individual difference variable.
Keller, C., & Siegrist, M. (2015). Does personality influence eating styles and food choices? Direct and indirect effects. Appetite, 84, 128-138.