Can your preferences for entertainment tell you about your personality type? That’s the question asked by Scientific American Mind in “You Are What You Like.”
If you’re looking for more material for a training session, you might ask people to read or discuss issues raised by this article. It refers to the “Big Five” personality traits of extroversion, openness, neuroticism, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. (DiSC looks at dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness.) Research is showing the possibility that these traits correlate with people’s preferences in music, literature, and art.
I’m not sure I’d trust any profile based on whether I preferred Cubist, Renaissance, Impressionist, or ukiyo-e styles; but I do find it interesting. Apparently knowing if someone reads comics or books about music or philosophy tells us nothing, yet someone’s iTunes library might be enough to tell us if someone is open to new experiences or extroverted.
How do we judge people? Can we easily determine how someone we don’t know well will respond to a social or work situation? What traits do you think are observable? Do people display different behaviors in differing circumstances? Can you learn to act against your own personality preferences?
If you really want to get a discussion going (and you’re a skilled facilitator) you can talk about Dana R. Carney’s research showing that politically liberal Americans tend to be more open to new experiences than their conservative fellow citizens. Those who identify as being on the right are typically more conscientious, organized, neat, clean, withdrawn and rigid. Those on the left are more tolerant, creative, expressive, curious, enthusiastic and drawn to novelty.
If you work in a field like sales or service where you’ll be more successful if you can quickly determine a person’s personality, then let me recommend Everything DiSC Sales Interaction Guides. I think the research behind these has been better tested and validated. And they are more convenient than looking at what someone is reading in bed.
Update: Here’s another related article from Independent you might want to read: Music taste linked to personality traits by Cambridge psychologists. And research by
Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Adrian Furnham and Stian Reimers in the journal The Psychologist: Personality and art
by Kristeen Bullwinkle and the DiSCProfile.com team