Social Investment and the Big 5

by Luis Gomez, Kenyon ’17

As a sophomore in college, the real worry for a job, work, and the various societal obligations I will have as an adult has not set in yet, but I see my senior friends stress out about it all the time. At the age of entering the real world what Roberts, Wood, and Caspi (2008) coined as “the maturity principle” is to set in and they will find jobs, settle down, and being responsible, functional members of society.

Sointu Leikas from the University of Helsinki and Katariina Salmela-Aro from the University of Jyväskylä conducted a study on how these life events that lead to maturing and becoming this responsible adult influences the changes in personality over time in young Finns. Taking a sample of 707 ninth graders (367 males, 332 female, 8 unspecified), they lead a longitudinal study but only taking data when the young adults were 20 and 23.

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A Japanese Sample: Are Changes in Adolescence Observed Cross-Culturally?

by Angela Lee, Kenyon ’15

As a senior in college, I like to believe that I am not the same person that I was when I first arrived on campus as a freshman. But even more than that, I like to believe that I am not the same person I was my freshman year of high school. We all can recall our elementary school days and wonder why we felt it necessary to cry outside of our kindergarten classrooms for two hours because we couldn’t find the ring we had wanted to bring to school. Nowadays, you would be hard pressed to get me to raise my voice at all in public.

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Personality as a Predictor of Obedience

by Sydney Engelstein, Kenyon ’18

Society values certain kinds of personalities over others. Being a kind parent and a high achieving student, being low in aggression and high in mental health. A new study, however, has shown that the type of personality that creates these desirable traits can also lead to “destructive and immoral obedience” in the right situations. Begue, Beauvois, Courbet, Oberle, Lepage, and Duke created an extension of the famous Milgram experiment, designed to see if certain personality types were more susceptible to blindly following authority.

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Do Funny People Like Funny Things More?

By Kyra Baldwin, Kenyon ’17

Humor is an elusively defined but perennially important part of our lives as humans. It is therefore extremely interesting when researchers attempt to empirically determine what exactly makes people funny and what our laughter is actually signifying. Joseph Moran, Marina Rain, Elizabeth Page-Gould, and Raymond A. Mar carried out a study in 2014 which sought to figure out what separates the comedians from the rest of us, particularly looking into if there is a relationship between making humorous jokes and finding jokes humorous. They concluded that, perhaps contradictory to social intuition, funny people don’t find things funnier.

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Anxiety at Its Best

by Karen Salas, Kenyon ’17

We’ve all told a lie at some point in our lives, and if you disagree, then you are probably lying. Odds are you’ve also encountered a person who is uncannily good at spotting lies. Could there be something rooted in a person’s personality that allows them to detect deceit far more easily than others? According to researchers Tsachi Ein-Dor and Adi Perry, this may actually be the case. The findings from their recent study suggest that anxiously attached people tend to be better skilled at detecting lies.

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Altruism, Emotion, and Morals: Can They Coexist?

by Oscar Anderson, Kenyon ’16

Can altruism, emotion-driven selfishness, and high morality all coexist within the same person? Barasch, Levine, Berman, & Small (2014) believe that they can based off a series of tests they conducted. However, altruism and high morality should not be able to exist with emotion-driven, selfish behaviour according to the provided definition of altruism: “Altruism is characterized by a motivation to increase another person’s welfare and is presumed to be driven by a selfless concern for others,” (Barasch et al., 2014). In order to test this definition, the researchers looked to emotion-driven prosocial behaviour, or anonymously aiding others based off the feelings of intrapsychic rewards. These intrapsychic awards can range from feeling good about having done a good deed to relieving distress caused by witnessing the suffering of others (Barasch et al., 2014).

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Is Social Phobia Distinct from Avoidant Personality Disorder?

by Indigo Eisendrath, Kenyon ’16

Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD) is generally considered a more extreme version of Social Phobia (SP). However, new research does not support this viewpoint and instead suggests that AvPD and SP are distinct types of General Social Phobia (GSP).

Lambe and Sunderland (2015) aimed to determine the differences between AvPD and SP, hypothesizing that there are “qualitative differences between AvPD and SP that are undermined by limiting research to participants with SP” (p. 115). Therefore, Lambe and Sunderland used three participant groups, AvPD only, SP only, and AvPD+SP to study the differences in conditions.

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