Correlates of personality


This project was a composite of several studies examining how personality characteristics relate to a range of other attributes, primarily concerned with curiosity, interests, wellbeing, and food preferences.

Research Questions / Hypotheses

In the first study we were interested in how people would respond to different kinds of advertisements advocating for plant-based diets, and whether personality traits would influence how people responded.    In the second study we were interested in how measures of curiosity predicted feelings of interest during a trivia game, and willingness to pay a time cost to see answers during the trivia game.    In the third study we were interested whether an index of "self-knowledge" (assessed in terms of self-other agreement, which is the degree of match between self reports of your personality and ratings of your personality provided by others who know you) was related to measures of wellbeing    In the fourth study were were focussed on evaluating the reliability and validity of a novel measure of 'diversity of interests' - the extent to which people report having a wide range of interests and hobbies as opposed to just a few interests and pursuits.


Roughly 800 participants completed and we removed 100 participants who    - Told us their data was of low quality    - responded implausibly fast (spending < 1 second per item)    - did not answer a simple open-ended question    - gave the same response to every question in a 20-item questionnaire (a lazy response style called 'straightening').


The methods consisted of a series of questionnaires and tasks all administered within the one online survey.


In our first study we found that people responded more positively to plant-based messages focussed on animal welfare and the environment, compared to messages focussed health. We also found that people who were high on speciesism (i.e., who didn't think animals deserved the kind of moral value we place on humans) responded less strongly to all of the messages, but particularly those focussed on animal welfare and the environment.    In our second study we found that trait curiosity predicted willingness to pay a cost to see trivia answers, and this effect was explained by ('mediated by') stronger feelings of interest.    In our third study we found that people who high greater self-knowledge (stronger self-other agreement) with respect to their levels of general negative emotionality (how anxious and worried they generally tend to be, in terms of a normal personality tendency), showed higher levels of wellbeing.    In our fourth study we found good support for the reliability and validity of our novel measure of 'diversity of interests'.


All of these results have theoretical and practical implications in the areas described. The broad implication they offer is that individual differences in personality predict a range of consequential outcomes and behaviours. We will be publishing all of these findings in journal articles, in due course.