Later this year, the Star Wars saga returns to theaters with the first new live action sequel since Return of the Jedi completed the original trilogy in 1983. Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca, and the droids C-3PO and R2-D2 return, along with all-new enemies and allies. What is it about these characters and their stories that touched people all across the world? Help us try to figure that out, a little bit of it anyway, by sharing your thoughts on what these characters are like in this survey: An OCEAN Far Away.
One of the most robust constructs in personality psychology is the "Big 5" set of personality factors identified by numerous researchers, although perhaps best associated with McCrae and Costa (1987) whose meta-analysis of many studies showed a recurring finding: Five personality factors derived through factor analysis appear in different people across time and throughout various cultures. Traits within each factor are intercorrelated positively or negatively with each other while each trait cluster is orthogonal, statistically distinct, from the other factors.
Openness: People high in openness are curious, creative, and analytical, eager to try things that are unfamiliar, nontraditional, and new.
Conscientiousness: Conscientious individuals organize, plan, persist, attend to details, set higher goals, are more competitive, and follow tasks through to completion. These traits, though useful in many situations, can be counterproductive when taken to extremes.
Extraversion: The extravert is more active, talkative, socially aware, and focused on his or her environment, as opposed to the shy, anxious, inwardly focused introvert. Extraverts also tend to be bolder, more fearless
Agreeableness: Agreeable people are friendly, good-natured, easier to get along with, and eager to get along with others. Extremely agreeable people make better followers than leaders.
How we view fictional characters reflects how we view real people, what they're like and what we feel they ought to be like. What kind of fictional people made Star Wars resonate so universally back in 1977 and endure to this day? Help us find out. I'll tell you about the results here and I'll discuss them at great length in the book Star Wars Psychology [the subtitle for which is a Rebel secret for the moment], due to hit bookstores in October.
What do YOU think Luke, Yoda, Darth, and company are really like?
McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T., Jr. (1987). Validation of the five-factor model of personality across instruments and observers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 52(1), 81–90.