As a therapist, I spend much of my time observing individuals to gauge as much about their personality as I possibly can. The more we understand and observe about that person, the more effective the therapy is likely to be.
There are huge amounts of things that people are advised to notice these days and research done on sooo many observable indicators… Psychologists have researched a wide variety of areas to understand how much of our personalities we actually reveal in public: we can look at the clothes people wear, the arrangement of their offices, proximity to other people, all kinds of other things, even including the design of our websites (I have people suggest things about me as a result of mywebsite, that’s for sure!).
What if all this exploration coud be taken a step further? What if we could actually tap into an individual’s thoughts? How much of their personality would be revealed? Well, I have been reading a fascinating piece of research that attempts to find that out….
In this piece of research ‘Personality judgments based on a person’s natural stream of thought‘ I quote:
Ninety students spent twenty minutes in private typing into a computer whatever came into their minds, reporting their thoughts, feelings and sensations. They were told their commentaries would be kept private and anonymous, linked only with their scores on a personality test. Nine judges then read these twenty-minute bursts of thought and attempted to rate the personalities of the students who had written them.
The judges rated the students’ personalities with a high degree of accuracy (as compared with the students’ self-ratings), especially for the essays judged to be most private, as opposed to public, in their content. In fact, accuracy of the personality judgements was higher than for comparable studies that have investigated how much personality is revealed in people’s daily activities, their websites or offices.
Accuracy was highest for the Big Five personality dimensions of Agreeableness, Conscientiousness and Emotional Stability, while being somewhat lower for Extraversion and Openness to Experience.
“Empirically, the findings from this study suggest that a person’s private thoughts and feelings provide good information for the accurate judgement of private personality characteristics,” the researchers said.
As you would expect, this kind of study (and in particular this very study) can be seen to have a number of methodological issues that people are going to pick up on. Most notably, it is questionable just how open the students were in their 20 minute “stream of thought” essays, despite the promise of anonymity. Would you be prepared to write exactly what came into your head for a psychology experiment? Hmmmm…
Despite this, the idea and notion underpinning the research is very interesting and may one day lead to further exploration, leading to us being able to read much more about people… Which may well get a very big thumbs up from therapists.
By the way… Latest ezine edition is out today with some major wealth mindset offers… and more of my Hypnosis Revealed podcasts are going live regularly, go have a listen if you have time.