Friday, December 10, 2021

The heritability of most personality traits decreases with age, being overridden by the accumulation of highly idiosyncratic life experiences

Kandler, C., Bratko, D., Butković, A., Hlupić, T. V., Tybur, J. M., Wesseldijk, L. W., de Vries, R. E., Jern, P., & Lewis, G. J. (2021). How genetic and environmental variance in personality traits shift across the life span: Evidence from a cross-national twin study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 121(5), 1079–1094, Dec 2021.

Abstract: Decades of research have shown that about half of individual differences in personality traits is heritable. Recent studies have reported that heritability is not fixed, but instead decreases across the life span. However, findings are inconsistent and it is yet unclear whether these trends are because of a waning importance of heritable tendencies, attributable to cumulative experiential influences with age, or because of nonlinear patterns suggesting Gene × Environment interplay. We combined four twin samples (N = 7,026) from Croatia, Finland, Germany, and the United Kingdom, and we examined age trends in genetic and environmental variance in the six HEXACO personality traits: Honesty-Humility, Emotionality, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness. The cross-national sample ranges in age from 14 to 90 years, allowing analyses of linear and nonlinear age differences in genetic and environmental components of trait variance, after controlling for gender and national differences. The amount of genetic variance in Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Openness followed a reversed U-shaped pattern across age, showed a declining trend for Honesty-Humility and Conscientiousness, and was stable for Emotionality. For most traits, findings provided evidence for an increasing relative importance of life experiences contributing to personality differences across the life span. The findings are discussed against the background of Gene × Environment transactions and interactions.

Definite eveningness was associated with increased odds for reporting self-perceived loneliness & lonely evening-types had significantly smaller right hippocampal volume as compared to morning & more socially connected evening types

Night Owls and Lone Wolves. Ray Norbury. Biological Rhythm Research, Dec 9 2021.

Abstract: Diurnal preference for evening time has been associated with poorer physical and mental health outcomes. In the current report, perceived loneliness and brain structure (hippocampal and amygdala volumes) were compared in a large (N = 4684) sample of morning- and evening-type individuals. Definite eveningness was associated with increased odds for reporting self-perceived loneliness and lonely evening-types had significantly smaller right hippocampal volume as compared to morning and more socially connected evening types. These data add to the mounting body of evidence linking an evening profile with increased risk for psychiatric disorder.

Keywords: Chronotypeeveningnessdiurnal preferencelonelinesshippocampus

Around the world, 60.40% of participants reported that they are currently trying to change their personalities, with the highest percentage in Thailand (81.91%) and the lowest in Kenya (21.41%), most of all emotional stability

Baranski, E., Gardiner, G., Lee, D., Funder, D. C., & Members of the International Situations Project. (2021). Who in the world is trying to change their personality traits? Volitional personality change among college students in six continents. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 121(5), 1140–1156, Dec 2021.

Abstract: Recent research conducted largely in the United States suggests that most people would like to change one or more of their personality traits. Yet almost no research has investigated the degree to which and in what ways volitional personality change (VPC), or individuals’ active efforts toward personality change, might be common around the world. Through a custom-built website, 13,278 college student participants from 55 countries and one of a larger country (Hong Kong, S.A.R.) using 42 different languages reported whether they were currently trying to change their personality and, if so, what they were trying to change. Around the world, 60.40% of participants reported that they are currently trying to change their personalities, with the highest percentage in Thailand (81.91%) and the lowest in Kenya (21.41%). Among those who provide open-ended responses to the aspect of personality they are trying to change, the most common goals were to increase emotional stability (29.73%), conscientiousness (19.71%), extraversion (15.94%), and agreeableness (13.53%). In line with previous research, students who are trying to change any personality trait tend to have relatively low levels of emotional stability and happiness. Moreover, those with relatively low levels of socially desirable traits reported attempting to increase what they lacked. These principal findings were generalizable around the world.

Moderate occupational complexity may be a “goldilocks range” for using personality to predict occupational performance

Occupational characteristics moderate personality–performance relations in major occupational groups. Michael P. Wilmot, Deniz S. Ones. Journal of Vocational Behavior, Volume 131, December 2021, 103655.


• Occupational characteristics moderate relations of personality and performance in major occupational groups.

• Personality–occupational performance relations differ considerably across nine major occupational groups.

• Traits show higher criterion-related validities when experts rate them as more relevant to occupational requirements.

• Moderate occupational complexity may be a “goldilocks range” for using personality to predict occupational performance.

• Occupational characteristics are important, if overlooked, contextual variables.


Personality predicts performance, but the moderating influence of occupational characteristics on its performance relations remains underexamined. Accordingly, we conduct second-order meta-analyses of the Big Five traits and occupational performance (i.e., supervisory ratings of overall job performance or objective performance outcomes). We identify 15 meta-analyses reporting 47 effects for 9 major occupational groups (clerical, customer service, healthcare, law enforcement, management, military, professional, sales, and skilled/semiskilled), which represent N = 89,639 workers across k = 539 studies. We also integrate data from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) concerning two occupational characteristics: 1) expert ratings of Big Five trait relevance to its occupational requirements; and 2) its level of occupational complexity. We report three major findings. First, relations differ considerably across major occupational groups. Conscientiousness predicts across all groups, but other traits have higher validities when they are more relevant to occupational requirements: agreeableness for healthcare; emotional stability for skilled/semiskilled, law enforcement, and military; extraversion for sales and management; and openness for professional. Second, expert ratings of trait relevance mostly converge with empirical relations. For 77% of occupational groups, the top-two most highly rated traits match the top-two most highly predictive traits. Third, occupational complexity moderates personality–performance relations. When groups are ranked by complexity, multiple correlations generally follow an inverse-U shaped pattern, which suggests that moderate complexity levels may be a “goldilocks range” for personality prediction. Altogether, results demonstrate that occupational characteristics are important, if often overlooked, contextual variables. We close by discussing implications of findings for research, practice, and policy.

Keywords: PersonalityOccupational characteristicsOccupational requirementsOccupational relevanceOccupational complexitySecond-order meta-analysisO*NET

The field of bioaesthetics seeks to understand how modern humans may have first developed art appreciation & is informed by considering a broad range of fields including painting, sculpture, music & the built environment

Bee Representations in Human Art and Culture through the Ages. Prendergast, K. S., Garcia, J. E., Howard, S. R., Ren, Z., McFarlane, S. J., & Dyer, A. G. Art & Perception, Dec 8 2021.

Abstract: The field of bioaesthetics seeks to understand how modern humans may have first developed art appreciation and is informed by considering a broad range of fields including painting, sculpture, music and the built environment. In recent times there has been a diverse range of art and communication media representing bees, and such work is often linked to growing concerns about potential bee declines due to a variety of factors including natural habitat fragmentation, climate change, and pesticide use in agriculture. We take a broad view of human art representations of bees to ask if the current interest in artistic representations of bees is evidenced throughout history, and in different regions of the world prior to globalisation. We observe from the earliest records of human representations in cave art over 8,000 years old through to ancient Egyptian carvings of bees and hieroglyphics, that humans have had a long-term relationship with bees especially due to the benefits of honey, wax, and crop pollination. The relationship between humans and bees frequently links to religious and spiritual representations in different parts of the world from Australia to Europe, South America and Asia. Art mediums have frequently included the visual and musical, thus showing evidence of being deeply rooted in how different people around the world perceive and relate to bees in nature through creative practice. In modern times, artistic representations extend to installation arts, mixed-media, and the moving image. Through the examination of the diverse inclusion of bees in human culture and art, we show that there are links between the functional benefits of associating with bees, including sourcing sweet-tasting nutritious food that could have acted, we suggest, to condition positive responses in the brain, leading to the development of an aesthetic appreciation of work representing bees.

Keywords: Ancient; perception; aesthetics; moving image; iconography; motif; modern; contemporary

8. Discussion and Considerations

Throughout this appraisal we have observed and reflected upon bee representations in human culture throughout early existence to current day, from ancient artefacts to South American and Chinese cultural perspectives, to physical and behavioural aesthetic interpretations of the bees’ attributes, and evolving methodologies within the human creative process. The representations we observe traverse a diversity of art practice, for example: the ancient song lines of First Nation peoples’ culture recording relationships with sugarbag bees in Australia, to the music of the Yunnan Province in China, and the bee-inspired drones in contemporary music. The types of artwork representing bees extend across many domains, consistent with proposals by Westphal-Fitch and Fitch (2018) that this is the type of broad and long-term evidence is required to inform how functional use and cultural practices may lead to aesthetic appreciations for art representing a particular motif. Indeed, the bee appears to be ubiquitous in human awareness and is often a positive reinforcing relationship that provides for us, informs our methods of conception and sharing of knowledge, and the way in which we may contemplate our co-existence for survival and prosperity. In this regard, bees like the European honeybee, South American bees and the Australian native sugarbag bee all produce a sweet-tasting and highly nutritious food like honey, and this may provide a relatively straightforward neurobiological pathway for how a conditioned appetitive experience enables a perceived positive or beautiful experience in an individual, and such an experience may lead to developing aesthetic appreciation for artwork associated with bees. Indeed, we hypothesise that most artwork appears to represent bees that produce such rewards, and this evidence extends around the world and for different bee species. In a similar fashion, bee art may be considered to promote both positive responses that may link to appetitive conditioning and sweet rewards, but alternatively to aversive responses to stings processed by different regions of the brain (see Section 7.2.4). Taken together, these links to how and why different people find bee art representations engaging suggest that aesthetic appeal to engage audience attention extends beyond a beautiful experience to either positive or aversive salient neural representations that cause occasion for artwork to stand out in the mind of the observer (Vessel et al., 2012).

In modern and contemporary arts practice, a ‘collective’ sense of connection to bees is a recurring theme, and how creative endeavours can contribute to further expand our global awareness of the plight of these important insects. Certainly, the mediums through which bees are represented and appraised have diversified, so too have the types of bees being represented. We propose that this is likely due to readily accessible and digestible science communication of which many practitioners are seeking to further the aesthetic capabilities (and legitimacy) of their works. Indeed, we now witness science and technology as an evolving tool and palette for creation, and for some artist such as Wolfgang Buttress (2021b) and AnneMarie Maes (2021) among others, this union is vital to conveying the human story of understanding the world we live in through art.

We have identified data fabrication, falsification and fraud as the primary reason for the retraction of papers in psychology; clearly, this is also an issue in other disciplines.

Russell, Craig, Cox, Adam, Tourish, Dennis and Thorpe, Alistair (2020) Using retracted journal articles in psychology to understand research misconduct in the social sciences: What is to be done? Research Policy, 49 (4). a103930. ISSN 0048-7333.

Abstract: This paper explores the nature and impact of research misconduct in psychology by analyzing 160 articles that were retracted from prominent scholarly journals between 1998 and 2017. We compare findings with recent studies of retracted papers in economics, and business and management, to profile practices that are likely to be problematic in cognate social science disciplines. In psychology, the principal reason for retraction was data fabrication. Retractions took longer to make, and generally were from higher ranked and more prestigious journals, than in the two cognate disciplines. We recommend that journal editors should be more forthcoming in the reasons they provide for article retractions. We also recommend that the discipline of psychology gives a greater priority to the publication of replication studies; initiates a debate about how to respond to failed replications; adopts a more critical attitude to the importance of attaining statistical significance; discourages p-hacking and Hypothesizing After Results are Known (HARKing); assesses the long-term effects of pre-registering research; and supports stronger procedures to attest to the authenticity of data in research papers. Our contribution locates these issues in the context of a growing crisis of confidence in the value of social science research. We also challenge individual researchers to reassert the primacy of disinterested academic inquiry above pressures that can lead to an erosion of scholarly integrity.


We have identified data fabrication, falsification and fraud as the primary reason for the retraction of papers in psychology. Clearly, this is also an issue in other disciplines.