Psychedelic Drugs and the Nature of Personality Change

A recent study found increases in openness to experience following a dose of LSD. More detailed studies on psychedelics may lead to a deeper understanding of personality change.

Race, Sexual Permissiveness, and Questionable Science

According to differential-K theory, racial differences in sexuality should follow a specific hierarchy. However, research evidence suggests that this theory is wrong.

Testing Racial Theories Using Dodgy Statistics

Can Richard Lynn's use of dodgy data on race differences in penis size be defended with crude statistics? The answer is no. Plus, Neanderthal DNA and why it hardly matters either.

Race Differences in Androgens: Do They Mean Anything?

What can group differences in androgen levels tell us about racial differences in reproductive strategies? Probably not much.

Personality Profiles of Great American Presidents

A study finds that presidential greatness is associated with a mix of bright and dark traits. Great presidents have been compassionate yet also knew how to manipulate people.

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.

Can the Experience of Awe Open the Mind?

People who are open to experience are more prone to experiencing awe. Is it possible that profound experiences of awe could also induce greater open-mindedness? Mystical experiences under the influence of psychedelics can increase openness to experience. Perhaps such experiences are so awe-inspiring that create a deeper and lasting appreciation for the mystery of life.

Your Field Guide to the Colorful Personality

People with colorful personalities, or histrionic traits, can be entertaining yet also very self-centered. Charming and theatrical, they may use social skills to exploit others. The colorful personality may be an addition to the growing list of dark personalities.

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?

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?

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.

Uneasy about the Afterlife: Prejudice, Atheism, and Humility

According to new research, atheists can threaten a person’s confidence in an afterlife, and this may be a factor in widespread prejudices against atheists. According to terror management theory most people defend against their dread of mortality in ways that generate intolerance. Cultivating a humble attitude might ease death's sting and reduce prejudice.

Fifty Shades of Tattooing: Body Art, Risk and Personality

Women readers of the Fifty Shades trilogy have higher rates of risky behavior So do women who get tattoos. Both of these may be outward signs of a predisposition to take risk rather than a cause of such behavior.

Fifty Shades: Glamorizing Abuse or Harmless Escapism?

The Fifty Shades Trilogy has provoked controversy because the story revolves around an abusive relationship. A group of researchers has argued that the books may harm women by glamorizing abuse. However, the authors' findings are inconsistent with their claims. Whether the books have a harmful influence or are simply titillating fantasy remains to be demonstrated.

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 Uses Their Head and Who Listens to Their Heart?

Whether a person identifies with their head or their heart can say a lot about their personality. Are people in their heads really smarter than those in their hearts?

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.

When Being Nice Gets in the Way of Being Smart

The relation between intelligence and the personality trait agreeableness presents a puzzle. Agreeableness is unrelated to IQ, yet lay people tend to associate agreeableness with lower intelligence, even though it is a desirable quality. A new study found that agreeable people choke under pressure, suggesting that being too nice can be a liability at times.

What Is An Intelligent Personality?

Some theorists argue that intelligence and socially desirable personality traits naturally go together. However, lay people associate intelligence with a mix of desirable and undesirable personality traits, such as disagreeableness. The relationship between personality and intelligence may be more complicated than is suggested by grand unitary theories.

What Do Heroes and Psychopaths Have in Common?

Recent research looks at whether heroes and psychopaths are "twigs from the same branch." People who have performed heroic actions to help others often have a history of antisocial behavior as well. There may be loose connections between heroism and having "psychopathic" qualities, but the reasons for this remain unclear.

DMT: Gateway to Reality, Fantasy or What?

The bizarre phenomenon of encounters with non-human entities under the influence of DMT has inspired both mystical and scientific speculations. Greater understanding of the psychological and personality characteristics of DMT users might help shed light on this curious phenomenon.

Psilocybin Users Who Trip Without Drugs

A recent study of intensely positive experiences in people who have used psilocybin found that some users had experienced profoundly altered states of consciousness, including visual hallucinations even when not under the direct influence of the drug. Perhaps psilocybin might have lasting effects on a person’s ability to enter altered states of consciousness without drugs.

Are Dog People More Prejudiced Than Cat People?

A new study finds that self-identified dog people are higher in social dominance orientation than cat people, a trait associated with prejudice. However, this seems puzzling as previous research found that dog people are also more agreeable and conscientious. Further research is needed to determine dog people really are more prejudiced than cat people and if so, why.

Can Cannabis Cause Psychosis? A Hard Question to Answer

Although a number of long-term studies have linked cannabis use to later risk of mental illness, the question of whether the one causes the other remains unresolved. The possibility that a third factor, such as genetic or personality predispositions, underlies both cannabis use and the development of psychosis needs to be considered more carefully in future research.

Heroes and Villains: The Contradictions Within Situationism

Situationism implies that evil-doers are victims of circumstances beyond their control, yet argues that heroes are those who can rise above their circumstances to do what is right. An ideology of victimisation is incompatible with heroism. Personal responsibility for one's actions cuts both ways.

Are Heroes and Villains Really Just Victims of Circumstance?

What makes a hero, what makes a villain? Phil Zimbardo has claimed that evil and heroism are equally banal and mainly arise as a matter of circumstance rather than any special qualities of the person. However, his own analysis blames evil on external forces, but views heroism as coming from within the person. A more balanced view is needed to understand these extremes.

Who Supports Censorship of Blasphemous Art?

Blasphemy in the name of art always provokes controversy, but should it be censored? A recent study found that while Christians wanted to ban all blasphemous art, non-religious people only wanted to ban art that offends Muslims but not if it offends Christians. Does this double standard reflect a wider problem in modern Western culture?

Monster Porn and the Science of Sexuality

Monster porn has gained attention as a hot new trend in women's erotic fiction. John Horgan recently argued that this phenomenon defies scientific explanation, particularly by evolutionary psychology. On the contrary, a closer look shows that monster porn makes use of popular themes in women's erotic fiction and is hardly beyond the scope of scientific analysis.

Is There A Scientific “Taboo” Against Parapsychology?

A recent letter signed by 100 scientists calls for an end to the "taboo" against investigating parapsychology. However, a closer look into the history of the subject shows that mainstream science has been more than fair in giving parapsychology a chance to prove its scientific credentials. The supposed "taboo" seems to be no more than a figment of the imagination.

More Knowledge, Less Belief in Religion?

A recent review of 63 studies found that higher intelligence was associated with less religious belief. The reasons for this are not known, although a number of explanations are possible. One factor that may be relevant is that religious people tend to be less knowledgeable about religion and about other topics than atheists and agnostics.