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

Looking for the Right Relationship? Make a Plan!

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and you’re still alone. Or maybe you’re just wishing you were alone because clearly you’re dating a total loser. Or maybe you’ve decided to address your long-standing dating dilemma with a bold new approach. If you’ve opted for the latter, read on.

Helping Adolescents Keep Agreements

With more actively and passively resistant adolescents parents must work harder to get agreements made. Getting this habit of keeping agreements in place matters for healthy relationships with parents now, and for significant relationships later on.

He Who Loves Will Be Conditioned to Show it

Love is not a disposition but it can occur below conscious awareness.

Personality Traits of BDSM Practitioners: Another Look

A recent study provides some new insights into the personality traits of dominant and submissive BDSM practitioners. Dominant practitioners seem to be more calm and have a greater desire for control, while submissive ones may be more emotional and introverted. Some questions remain about how these findings compare to previous studies into this fascinating world.

Who's Telling The Truth?

By Russ Gerber on February 13, 2015 in Our Health
What will be your impact on the moral atmosphere?

Are You Raising a Couch Potato?

Do you ever wonder why some kids become unmotivated—why they would rather doze off in front of the TV instead of working toward a personal goal? Learn how initiative is developed and fostered through specific types of experiences—most of which happen outside of school!

How Big are Psychological Sex Differences?

By David P Schmitt Ph.D. on February 08, 2015 in Sexual Personalities
Are Men and Women Psychologically Different?

Deadly Rescue

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on February 07, 2015 in A Swim in Denial
The “American Sniper” phenomenon is breaking box office records. It's not just a war movie. The publicity machine is cranking, but something doesn’t feel right. What does it mean to “snipe” anyway? And why should a sniper-hero fascinate us? And for that matter, why do we have so much trouble thinking about it?

How Do You Like Them Apples?

By Rick Miller LICSW on February 05, 2015 in Unwrapped
Gay men still need role models. And Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has taken his place. A reluctant spokesperson, this powerful gay man leads one of the most innovative organizations on the globe, and leads the way for positive social change.

The Surprising Psychology of BDSM

‘Fifty Shades’ piqued your curiosity? Answers to five kinky questions.

What Does Your Avatar Say About You?

By Art Markman Ph.D. on February 05, 2015 in Ulterior Motives
A lot of websites give you the chance to represent yourself with an avatar rather than a picture of yourself. Avatars are often cartoon-y pictures with facial features, clothing, and accessories that allow you to personalize your picture. The avatar you select can influence the way people interact with you.

Expanding on Penis Size

By Robert D. Martin Ph.D. on February 04, 2015 in How We Do It
Correlation between erect and flaccid penis lengths is a statistical artifact. On average, extension through erection is the same in all men. The “plunger hypothesis”, that human penis shape is adapted to remove semen from rival males, is shown to be far-fetched. But stretched length of the penis may have a connection with the size ratio between index and ring fingers.

How Not to Ask for a Recommendation Letter

By Adam Grant Ph.D. on February 04, 2015 in Give and Take
The worst ways to ask for a recommendation

Which Type of Perfectionist Are You?

Research on perfectionism suggests that there are both adaptive and maladaptive forms of perfectionism.

Self-Motivate Successfully

By Leslie Becker-Phelps Ph.D. on February 02, 2015 in Making Change
Some people are masters of avoiding criticism; so much so that it’s the secret to their success. Unfortunately, such success is relatively hollow -- a temporary reprieve from the near constant challenges of proving themselves. There is a better way; an approach to success that allows people to be inherently motivated to pursue their dreams and enjoy the journey.

Don Jones: Make Art (Therapy), Not War

Don Jones was part of a unique generation of individuals who simultaneously arrived at the idea of “art therapy" in the 1940s. His legacy and impact on mental health practice began when he became conscientious objector during World War II; that juncture not only changed his life, it set him on a path to help found a new field and profession.

Ride the Wave of Winter

By Joseph Cardillo Ph.D. on January 29, 2015 in Attention Training
You may notice that the way you feel during winter has developed into a sort of a pattern over the years.

Doing the Right Thing: An Interview with Stevan Harnad

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 29, 2015 in Animal Emotions
Readers will find here a wide-ranging interview/dialogue with Dr. Stevan Harnad, the founder and former editor-in-chief of the highly influential journal called Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS). Dr. Harnad is a broad, eclectic, and thoughtful man and this discussion covers many topics including research methodologies, computers, and animal ethics.

Is There a Single Dimension of Mental Illness?

A new study finds evidence for a “p factor” that cuts across a wide number of different psychiatric diagnoses.

What Would Your Professors Say About You?

Dear students: Here are some questions you can ask yourselves about your behavior, along with possible thoughts instructors may have about them.

Computers Judge Personality Better Than People Do

By Matthew Hutson on January 12, 2015 in Psyched!
New research shows that a simple algorithm adding up your Facebook Likes can actually assess your soul better than your soulmate can.

The Key to Getting Ahead? It's Not About You.

By Art Markman Ph.D. on January 09, 2015 in Ulterior Motives
Most of us have heard some version of the saying “Behind every successful man is a great woman.” This quote highlights that people get accolades for their success in the workplace, but most people who achieve greatness in the workplace need people who support their personal lives.

Can Personality Help You Live Longer?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on January 05, 2015 in Media Spotlight
One of the main traits in the Five Factor Model of Personality, conscientiousness is linked to goal direction and being less likely to give in to spontaneous impulses. That can be important when it comes to sticking to a regular exercise schedule or diet as well as avoiding unhealthy lifestyle choices such as drinking or smoking. But can it help you live longer?

Do Opposites Really Attract? It's Complicated.

By Vinita Mehta Ph.D., Ed.M. on December 29, 2014 in Head Games
Opposites attract, and likes repel. When it comes to magnetism, this principle is axiomatic. But does it also hold true for romantic relationships? New research suggests that when it comes to matters of the heart, well, it's complicated.

Envy-Empathy: Gifts Within Human Neurocircuitry

Malignant envy is wild desire, what in Eastern perspectives is believed to be responsible for suffering. When envy is modulated and matured, it empowers life positive impulses facilitating knowing, emulation, learning, admiration, feelings of gratitude, and empathy, that is, understanding, respect, and compassion for self and others.

How Mad was Hitler?

By Stephen A Diamond Ph.D. on December 20, 2014 in Evil Deeds
What do we really know about Hitler's personality? Today, in a troubled world of political and religious leaders like the late Osama bin Laden, messianic ISIS chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, and enigmatic North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, it is more important than ever to understand the underlying psychology of such dangerous individuals.

The Four “Dark Personality” Traits

Psychopaths, narcissists, and sadists, oh my! Personality psychologist Del Paulhus has bucked the positive psychology trend, with a series of rigorous studies delving into the "Dark Side" of human personality. He has shown that four dark traits have distinct but often unexpected consequences in the workplace and in relationships.

Why Does Having a Positive Attitude Keep You Healthier?

By Christopher Bergland on December 13, 2014 in The Athlete's Way
For the first time, a December 2014 study has found that laughing gas (nitrous oxide) shows promise for helping symptoms of treatment-resistant depression.

Do Personality Traits and Values Form a Coherent Whole?

Personality psychologists are currently attempting to create more comprehensive theories that integrate many different components of personality. According to Life History Theory there is a general factor of personality that combines all personality traits in a specific way. However, attempting to integrate personal values with traits poses problems for this model.