All About Conscientiousness

Conscientiousness is not just about getting to the church on time, in a freshly-ironed outfit. It is a fundamental personality trait that influences whether people set and keep long-range goals, deliberate over choices or behave impulsively, and take seriously obligations to others. Conscientiousness is a key ingredient in success, but the off-the-charts conscientious may court perfectionism by setting their sites too high.

Recent Posts on Conscientiousness

Personality's 'Big One' and the Enigma of Narcissism

Narcissists can be charismatic yet also alienate others. Narcissism combines adaptive and maladaptive traits. This makes it difficult to reconcile narcissism with the theory that all personality traits express a single underlying dimension such as a general factor of personality.

The Ethics of Recent Protests on College Campuses

Excellent models of protest movements exist such as those conducted by Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, and Mahatma Gandhi. Perhaps our current college students might take a page from their playbooks and model them in their efforts to assist in righting previous and current wrongs and to do so ethically so that their desire for change is consistent with ethical behavior.

Millennials to the Rescue

How are millennials leading the charge to constructive social change? They are moving away from traditional social approaches to categorization of people (and hence marginalization) to increased inclusion increasing the possible health and well-being of others.

The Naked Emperor and the Vanishing Veteran

Whispered about but generally hidden, the dramatic decrease of support for veterans must be exposed and changed.

How to Overcome Fear of Rejection

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 05, 2015 Ambigamy
Fear of rejection is largely fear of having to rethink your approach. Here are three sane ways to over- or under-reacting to negative feedback.

Just Plain Fun

By Bernard L. De Koven on October 28, 2015 On Having Fun
Just your plain, every day, ordinary fun. Just something you happen to enjoy, for the moment: The sun. The breeze. On your skin. In your hair...

Man Up and Take Responsibility

Lucky people usually turn out to be those that are vigilant and proactive; pay attention and this can be you.

A Spoon Full of Sugar Makes the Medicine Go Down

One hundred years ago the average American consumed 4 pounds of sugar per year; today that number is 150 to 175 pounds of sugar per year. Can gratitude move us away from extreme ways of living and promote happiness?

5 Psychological Lessons from Marathon Running

Marathon running is intense and dangerous. So why do some of us take on this kind of superfluous activity? Here are five psychological factors that help us understand the nature of marathon running.

Teaching for Career and Life Success

“Success is not about your resources,” says Tony Robbins. “It’s about how resourceful you are with what you have.” How do we teach students to become resourceful—to use knowledge to achieve their goals?

Kim Davis, Pope Francis, and the Moral Ambiguity of Courage

Exactly what was so compelling about Kim Davis’ court case that Pope Francis would squeeze her into his already crowded U.S. visit? On the surface at least, Davis’ illegally defiant behavior as a county clerk in Kentucky would hardly seem exemplary. Yet many have staunchly defended her--while others have contested her fundamentalist ideas about religious liberty.

What Do Master Manipulators and Psychopaths Have in Common?

Psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism are personality traits that make up the "Dark Triad." These three traits all have interrelated features. But Machiavellianism and psychopathy have more in common with each other than either has with narcissism.

The Effect of Unconscious Associations on Visitors’ Behavior

Our thoughts and behavior are not under our intentional control, but are instead widely influenced by environmental factors. These automatic processes have a fundamental implication to our behavior in general as to our online behavior.

It's Hard to Hide Your OCD

By Donna Barstow on September 25, 2015 Ink Blots Cartoons
One study looks at possible links between Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and workaholics. They're not necessarily related, but they could be neighbors.

Are Early Childhood Memories Random and Disconnected?

By Arthur J. Clark Ed.D. on September 23, 2015 Dawn of Memories
Finding patterns in an individual's early recollections

How Can You Be More Stoic?

By Diana Raab Ph.D. on September 21, 2015 The Empowerment Diary
The word stoicism was one written about by philosopher Aurelius and has come to have numerous meanings. The most common reference is to being someone who accepts what is happening without complaining. Others like Taleb say that the stoic sage transforms difficult emotions into manageable ones. This blog offers ideas on how to encourage a sense of stoicism into our lives.

Is Your Dark Side Stronger?

By Gregory R. Maio Ph.D. on September 08, 2015 Attitude Check
Is it easier to think in a way that favors our own groups? Thinking in an egalitarian way may take time and energy.

Can You Change Your Personality?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on September 07, 2015 Media Spotlight
A recent research study shows that people are able to make significant personality changes in just sixteen weeks. For example, people who wanted to become more extraverted tested as being higher in extraversion by the end of the study period. These changes can be measured by personality testing as well as behaviour changes.

Opinion Polls Reveal Dramatic Decline in Impact of the Bible

Opinion poll surveys representative of the general population began in Britain in 1937, with the launch of the British Institute of Public Opinion (later Gallup Poll), which first covered the Bible in a question in 1938: "What book of all you have read impressed you most?" The Bible was mentioned by 16% of interviewees.

Are You a Feeler, Doer, or Thinker?

What no other words can tell me so clearly

What Most People Get Wrong About Generosity and Selfishness

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on August 28, 2015 Ambigamy
People treat generosity as all good and selfishness as all bad. It's more complicated than that. Still, pretending it's that simple can be a great way to grab what we want.

LSD, Suggestibility, and Personality Change

A recent study found that LSD increases suggestibility. Research suggests that psychedelic drug use can increase openness to unusual ideas, such as spiritual and paranormal beliefs, in the long-term. Could this be be due to a long-lasting increase in suggestibility and related personality traits?

What Does It Take to Succeed in Life?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on August 24, 2015 Media Spotlight
A new paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology describes one of the most comprehensive studies to date looking at the effects of family background, personality, and intelligence on later success. By studying 81,000 participants over an eleven-year period, researchers found that the American Dream is still alive and well. More or less.

Can You Escape Bias?

Is is possible to be completely bias free? Even with the best of intentions, the forces of social conditioning can interfere with our perceptions and constructions of one another. Have you ever misjudged someone, or been on the receiving end of wrong assumptions? How can we overcome these limiting tendencies in favor of embracing and appreciating our many dimensions?

Nine Steps to Turn Your Money "Shoulds" Into Action

When was the last time you rocked a “should”? As in, "I should replace that burned out light bulb." "I should exercise more often and eat better."

Striving To Maximize Both Charm and Chutzpah

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on July 28, 2015 Ambigamy
Etiquette is no longer enough to make a gentleman or gentlewoman, and actually never was. Aspiring gents must strive to maximize etiquette and character, humility and boldness, always seeking for better ways to speak their minds and be heard.

Resolving the “Conscientiousness Paradox”

Conscientious individuals generally have good outcomes, but countries with high national levels of conscientiousness generally have poorer levels of human development. What does this apparent "conscientiousness paradox" mean?

Why You May Want to Be a Cat Person (Or Have One Around)

By Peg Streep on July 14, 2015 Tech Support
Are Cat people really that different from Dog people? Actually, they are in some respects. But does that mean that never the twain shall meet? The low-down on the special qualities Cat people have...

What Can You Learn About People from Facebook?

As anyone who uses Facebook knows, different people post updates about different things: Your high school friend sharing photos of her kids, your colleague opining on politics, your friend posting funny animal videos. But what drives people to post what they do? A new study examines how our personality relates to the type of content we present on Facebook.

Regional Differences in Personality: Surprising Findings

Individual personality traits and the geographic region where one lives are correlated with important social outcomes. Research has found that personality traits are also geographically clustered in ways correlated with these same outcomes. Some of the results are surprising as the individual level and societal level correlates of personality can differ strikingly.