All About Neuroticism

Self-deprecating comedians and complainers wear their neuroticism as a badge of honor. In truth, the negatively biased are more prone to depression, anxiety, self-consciousness and hypochondria, to name just a few behavioral tripwires. Neuroticism is no fun for anyone. The good news: all personality traits, including emotional instability, exist on a continuum, in this case from the very neurotic to the implacably stable. If you can laugh at your hang-ups, you're probably not that neurotic to begin with.

Recent posts on Neuroticism

Study: "Pride Comes Before a Fall" Is Flawed in Two Ways

By Christopher Bergland on December 13, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
Does pride really come before a fall? A quirky new study tackles this question from two seemingly unrelated angles.

Personality and Volunteering

By Art Markman Ph.D. on December 06, 2017 in Ulterior Motives
Many important tasks in the world are done by nonprofit organizations that engage volunteers in activities that would not make for successful businesses.

East-West Cultural Differences in Depression

By David Ludden Ph.D. on November 20, 2017 in Talking Apes
The incidence of depressive and anxiety disorders is far lower in Asia than in the West. Different ways of thinking about negative feelings may be the key.

Are Racial Microaggressions on College Campuses Harmful?

A new study of college students finds that psychological harm due to racial microaggressions are real and not explained by the personality trait called neuroticism.

Is Facebook Making You Depressed?

Long a concern of psychologists studying Facebook use, the possibility of users become depressed comes under scrutiny in newly published research.

The Pressure to Be Perfect

Perfectionistic thinking is different from having high expectations and a drive to do a good job, in that the pressure to be perfect brings with it a host of negative thoughts.
KPG Payless2/Shutterstock

When Music Makes You Cry

By R. Douglas Fields Ph.D. on September 28, 2017 in The New Brain
A new study suggests that the reasons music makes us feel like crying reveal something about our personalities.

Complaining: Are You Sounding Like a Downer?

By Robert L. Leahy Ph.D. on September 25, 2017 in Anxiety Files
If you are a complainer you may inadvertently be driving people away.

Do You Know Your Cat’s Personality?

A new study explores personality assessment of domestic cats.

The Upside of Neuroticism

A new study finds that being neurotic may actually help you live longer.

Is It Narcissism or Sociopathy?

By Stephen A. Diamond Ph.D. on July 19, 2017 in Evil Deeds
What is the nexus between narcissistic and antisocial personality?

The Psychology of Revenge (and Vengeful People)

By Peg Streep on July 19, 2017 in Tech Support
Is revenge really sweet? And what makes people vengeful? Does playing tit for tat make you feel better? Or not? The science of revenge.
iQoncept/Shutterstock

The Crisis of Meaning

Now is the time to address the crisis of meaning in life, work, and society.

Research Suggests a Cure for Neuroticism

High levels of neuroticism are associated with feelings of anxiety, worry, and a general tendency to fret. New research suggests a way to tame these unpleasant emotions.

How Maternal Personality Problems Affect Children

How does parental personality dysfunction affect the future mental health of offspring? New research highlights how psychological issues carry over through generations.

Intelligence, Education, Personality, and Social Mobility

By Michael Hogan Ph.D. on April 21, 2017 in In One Lifespan
What predicts upward social mobility? We identified four important factors—education, intelligence, higher openness and lower neuroticism.

Trait Neuroticism and Depressive and Anxiety Disorders

By Gregg Henriques Ph.D. on February 26, 2017 in Theory of Knowledge
It is essential for folks who regularly struggle with depression and anxiety to understand high Trait Neuroticism and how to manage it.

Do Nervous Dog Owners Have Nervous Dogs?

By Stanley Coren PhD., DSc, FRSC on February 16, 2017 in Canine Corner
Dog owners who have more neurotic personalities tend to have dogs who are nervous and cope with stress less efficiently, a new study finds.

"Gosh, My Dog is Just Like Me": Shared Neuroticism

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on February 11, 2017 in Animal Emotions
A new study shows that dogs mirror human personalities more than humans mirror dog personalities and that pessimism and anxiety are shared traits.

3 Ways to Stay Cool Under Pressure

By Caroline Beaton on February 04, 2017 in The Gen-Y Guide
Your ability to perform well as your job gets more complex depends upon whether you can keep calm in a variety of situations.

Do People Really Change?

By Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D. on January 06, 2017 in Think, Act, Be
Personality characteristics like emotional stability and extraversion are by definition hard to change. Which traits are more responsive to therapy than we might have thought?

A Process Junkie's Guide to Putting a Lid on It

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on December 30, 2016 in Ambigamy
If you're psychologically curious, you may tend to invite more process talk than is useful or healthy. Here are some ways to be available for processing without encouraging it.
Wikimedia Commons. By Donald Trump. Aug. 19, 2015 (cropped). Hillary Clinton by Gage Skidmore.

Should Psychology Play Some Part in Presidential Politics?

By Stephen A. Diamond Ph.D. on December 22, 2016 in Evil Deeds
Ought we be publicly diagnosing our politicians?

Bulimia: An Integrated Map of Nine Key Elements

By Gregg Henriques Ph.D. on December 08, 2016 in Theory of Knowledge
Sparked by a recent research on personality factors and eating disorders, this post maps out nine key components to help understand the development of bulimia.

Eating Disorders: How Far We Have Come

Causes of eating disorders are complex and multi-determined. A succinct understanding of where research and theory are headed.

The Psychology of Insults

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on November 21, 2016 in The Human Beast
Having been through an election that was won on the basis of insults, it's time to study why we so often put others down.

What Makes People Easy or Hard to Get Along With?

By Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D. on November 15, 2016 in Think, Act, Be
A brand new meta-analysis brings together two lines of research about human traits: personality and emotional intelligence. Are these labels just two names for the same thing?

Narcissism and Exotic Pets: Is There a Connection?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on October 31, 2016 in Animals and Us
New research examines how narcissism and "dark personality traits" affect our attachments to pets and why some people are drawn to companion rats, snakes, and tarantulas.

The Deviant Psychologies of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

In Sex and the City Carrie's love interest, Mr. Big, a real-estate mogul, is compared to Trump, which raises the question: which television character is Hilary Clinton?

People Basically Want to Be Healthy, Not Stay Sick

By Michael Bader D.M.H. on September 06, 2016 in What Is He Thinking?
People want to be healthy, to form loving attachments, feel independent and have a sense of agency. Inhibiting beliefs formed in childhood interfere. But no one wants to be sick.