Tag Archives | personality

The Six Types Of Nonbelievers: Which Are You?

atheists(If you happen to be a nonbeliever, that is.) Via CNN, researchers Christopher Silver and Thomas Coleman interviewed atheists and formed a Cosmo-quiz-style typology of six distinct groups:

  • Intellectual atheist/agnostic – This type of nonbeliever seeks information and intellectual stimulation about atheism. They like debating and arguing.
  • Activist – These kinds of atheists and agnostics are not content with just disbelieving in God; they want to tell others why they reject religion and why society would be better off if we all did likewise.
  • Seeker-agnostic – People who are unsure about the existence of a God but keep an open mind and recognize the limits of human knowledge and experience. That doesn’t mean this group is confused, the researchers say. They just embrace uncertainty.
  • Anti-theist – This group regularly speaks out against religion and religious beliefs, usually by positioning themselves as “diametrically opposed to religious ideology,” Silver and Coleman wrote.

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Which Worldview Fears What?

Yale Scientific Magazine presents a fascinating Myers-Briggs-style test of what your societal fears reveal about your political and personal orientation. As a bonus, the amusingly-true chart of what people expect hierarchist communitarians, individualist egalitarians, etc., to look like:

“Cultural cognition refers to the tendency of people to fit their perceptions of risk and related facts to their group commitments,” says Dan Kahan, professor at Yale Law school and a CCP researcher. Researchers in the CCP measure people’s “worldviews” along the two dimensions of hierarchy-egalitarianism and communitarian-individualism.

This framework relates to the theory of anthropologist Mary Douglas, the originator of “the cultural theory of risk.” The theory postulates that people’s perceptions of risk should reflect and reinforce the combinations of values defined by the intersection of these two “worldview” dimensions.

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Your Facebook ‘Likes’ Reveal Far More Than You Realize

Algorithmic analysis of what you have “liked” gives everything away—your IQ, personality traits, drug usage, and even whether your parents divorced during your childhood, the Washington Post reports:

A Cambridge University study published Monday shows off how the researchers were able to figure out personal traits of individuals based on what 58,000 Facebook users decided to “like” on sites around the Web.

The researchers found that they could, for example, correctly distinguish between gay and straight men on the site 88 percent of the time by analyzing the TV shows and movies they liked. Similarly, they could differentiate between drug users and non-drug users with about 65 percent accuracy based on their expressed public preferences. The study even included “like” predictors that could tell whether users’ parents had separated when they were young versus whether they had not.

Researcher [said] that they hope this raises users’ awareness about the kind of information they may not realize they’re sharing with a wider audience.

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Scientists Locate Region Of Brain That Causes Selfishness

The question is, could we create a utopia by all having our basolateral amygdalas surgically removed? Via Science News:

People with damage to a specific part of the brain entrusted unexpectedly large amounts of money to complete strangers. In an investment game played in the lab, three women with damage to a small part of the brain called the basolateral amygdala handed over nearly twice as much money as healthy people.

These women didn’t expect to make a bunch of money back, an international team of researchers reports online the week of January 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Nor did they think the person they invested with was particularly trustworthy. When asked why they would invest so generously, the volunteers couldn’t provide an answer.

The results suggest that normally, the basolateral amygdala enables selfishness — putting the squeeze on generosity.

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Researchers Discover The Four Personality Types Of Elephants

Animals have distinct personality types, the Telegraph reveals

In a new study of African elephants, researchers have identified four distinct characters that are prevalent with a herd – the leaders, the gentle giants, the playful rogues and the reliable plodders. Each of the types has developed to help the giant mammals survive in their harsh environment and are almost unique in the animal kingdom, according to the scientists.

Professor Lee and her colleague Cynthia Moss studied a herd of elephants in the Amboseli National Park in Kenya known as the EB family – famous for their matriarch Echo before she died in 2009. Using data collected over 38 years of watching this group, the researchers analysed them for 26 types of behaviour and found four personality traits tended to come to the fore.

The strongest personality to emerge was that of the leader. The researchers looked for those elephants that tended to influence the movements and direction of the group.

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Does Organic Food Turn People into Jerks?

Organic Food

Photo: Missvain (CC)

Writes Diane Mapes on TODAY Health:

Renate Raymond has encountered her fair share of organic food snobs, but a recent trip to a Seattle market left her feeling like she’d stumbled onto the set of Portlandia.

“I stopped at a market to get a fruit platter for a movie night with friends but I couldn’t find one so I asked the produce guy,” says the 40-year-old arts administrator from Seattle. “And he was like, ‘If you want fruit platters, go to Safeway. We’re organic.’ I finally bought a small cake and some strawberries and then at the check stand, the guy was like ‘You didn’t bring your own bag? I need to charge you if you didn’t bring your own bag.’ It was like a ‘Portlandia skit.’ They were so snotty and arrogant.”

As it turns out, new research has determined that a judgmental attitude may just go hand in hand with exposure to organic foods.

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Dutch Man Laughs At Anything After Hip Surgery

Laughing ManWe all can learn from this (be sure to have CC on for subtitles for the video). Via CBS News:

Huug Bosse underwent hip surgery two years ago and now can’t stop cracking up no matter how hard he tries. “It appears that due to the operation, due to the anesthesia, he was laughing more,” Bosse’s wife told the Dutch TV show Man Bijt Hond. “When you are having a discussion and all he does is laughing, then it gets annoying.”

Can this bizarre behavior be explained by a medical condition?

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Freak Accident Turns Macho Rugby Player Into Gay Hairdresser

changeA tabloid-y tale from the U.K.’s Metro, but one that raises a host of interesting questions: Could a completely opposite person (with a different sexuality, even) be waiting, hidden, inside each of us? And can an injury really bring on this sort of change?

Former rugby player Chris Birch suffered a stroke in training and woke up to find he was gay. Mr. Birch was straight and engaged to be married when he suffered a freak accident in the gym. The 26-year-old tried to impress his friends with a back flip but broke his neck and suffered the stroke.

When he woke up, he underwent a drastic personality change that included an attraction to men. ‘I’d never even had any gay friends. But I didn’t care about who I was before, I had to be true to my feelings,’ he said.

Mr Birch broke off his engagement and found a boyfriend.

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Study: A Single Magic Mushroom Trip Causes Long-Term Positive Changes To Personality

Dutchban6-2006-2In a John Hopkins study, a majority of people who took a single dose of psilocybin were more imaginative, sensitive, and tolerant towards others for months afterward. In other words, psilocybin needs to remain illegal because it’s a threat to society. Via MedPage Today:

Many individuals who took a single dose of psilocybin — the active ingredient in what the drug culture calls “magic mushrooms” — showed alterations in personality characteristics, largely for the better, that persisted for more than a year, a prospective scientific study showed.

Participant…tended to show increases in the personality dimension known as openness, according to Katherine A. MacLean, PhD, and colleagues at Johns Hopkins University. Openness is generally considered a positive characteristic and includes such traits as aesthetic appreciation and sensitivity, imagination, intellectual engagement, and awareness of feelings in themselves and others.

The findings were consistent with previous studies and anecdotal reports from psilocybin users, who have said the drug changed their interactions with the world long after the acute effects wore off, MacLean and colleagues said.

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