1. People can match names to faces of strangers with surprising accuracy

    March 17, 2017 by Ashley

    From the American Psychological Association press release:

    IF

    If your name is Fred, do you look like a Fred? You might — and others might think so, too. New research published by the American Psychological Association has found that people appear to be better than chance at correctly matching people’s names to their faces, and it may have something to do with cultural stereotypes we attach to names.

    In the study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, lead author Yonat Zwebner, a PhD candidate at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem at the time of the research, and colleagues conducted a series of experiments involving hundreds of participants in Israel and France. In each experiment, participants were shown a photograph and asked to select the given name that corresponded to the face from a list of four or five names. In every experiment, the participants were significantly better (25 to 40 percent accurate) at matching the name to the face than random chance (20 or 25 percent accurate depending on the experiment) even when ethnicity, age and other socioeconomic variables were controlled for.

    The researchers theorize the effect may be, in part, due to cultural stereotypes associated with names as they found the effect to be culture-specific. In one experiment conducted with students in both France and Israel, participants were given a mix of French and Israeli faces and names. The French students were better than random chance at matching only French names and faces and Israeli students were better at matching only Hebrew names and Israeli faces.

    In another experiment, the researchers trained a computer, using a learning algorithm, to match names to faces. In this experiment, which included over 94,000 facial images, the computer was also significantly more likely (54 to 64 percent accuracy) to be successful than random chance (50 percent accuracy).

    This manifestation of the name in a face might be due to people subconsciously altering their appearance to conform to cultural norms and cues associated with their names, according to Zwebner.

    “We are familiar with such a process from other stereotypes, like ethnicity and gender where sometimes the stereotypical expectations of others affect who we become,” said Zwebner. “Prior research has shown there are cultural stereotypes attached to names, including how someone should look. For instance, people are more likely to imagine a person named Bob to have a rounder face than a person named Tim. We believe these stereotypes can, over time, affect people’s facial appearance.”

    This was supported by findings of one experiment showing that areas of the face that can be controlled by the individual, such as hairstyle, were sufficient to produce the effect.

    “Together, these findings suggest that facial appearance represents social expectations of how a person with a particular name should look. In this way, a social tag may influence one’s facial appearance,” said co-author Ruth Mayo, PhD, also from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. “We are subject to social structuring from the minute we are born, not only by gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic status, but by the simple choice others make in giving us our name.”


  2. Frankly, we do give a damn: Study finds links between swearing and honesty

    January 17, 2017 by Ashley

    From the University of Cambridge media release:

    computer frustrationIt’s long been associated with anger and coarseness but profanity can have another, more positive connotation. Psychologists have learned that people who frequently curse are being more honest.

    Writing in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science a team of researchers from the Netherlands, the UK, the USA and Hong Kong report that people who use profanity are less likely to be associated with lying and deception.

    Profanity is obscene language which, in some social settings is considered inappropriate and unacceptable. It often refers to language that contains sexual references, blasphemy or other vulgar terms. It’s usually related to the expression of emotions such as anger, frustration or surprise. But profanity can also be used to entertain and win over audiences.

    There are conflicting attitudes to profanity and its social impact has changed over the decades. In 1939, Clark Gable uttering the memorable line “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” in the film Gone with the Wind, was enough to land the producers a $5,000 fine. Nowadays our movies, TV shows and books are peppered with profane words and, for the most part, we are more tolerant of them.

    As dishonesty and profanity are both considered deviant they are often viewed as evidence of low moral standards. On the other hand, profanity can be positively associated with honesty. It is often used to express unfiltered feelings and sincerity. The researchers cite the example of President-elect Donald Trump who used swear words in some of his speeches while campaigning in last year’s US election and was considered, by some, to be more genuine than his rivals.

    Dr David Stillwell, a lecturer in Big Data Analytics at the University of Cambridge, and a co-author on the paper, says: “The relationship between profanity and dishonesty is a tricky one. Swearing is often inappropriate but it can also be evidence that someone is telling you their honest opinion. Just as they aren’t filtering their language to be more palatable, they’re also not filtering their views. ”

    The international team of researchers set out to gauge people’s views about this sort of language in a series of questionnaires which included interactions with social media users.

    In the first questionnaire 276 participants were asked to list their most commonly used and favourite swear words. They were also asked to rate their reasons for using these words and then took part in a lie test to determine whether they were being truthful or simply responding in the way they thought was socially acceptable. Those who wrote down a higher number of curse words were less likely to be lying.

    A second survey involved collecting data from 75,000 Facebook users to measure their use of swear words in their online social interactions. The research found that those who used more profanity were also more likely to use language patterns that have been shown in previous research to be related to honesty, such as using pronouns like “I” and “me.” The Facebook users were recruited from across the United States and their responses highlight the differing views to profanity that exist between different geographical areas. For example, those in the north-eastern states (such as Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey and New York) were more likely to swear whereas people were less likely to in the southern states (South Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi).


  3. Maternal depression across the first years of life impacts neural basis of empathy in children

    January 9, 2017 by Ashley

    From the Elsevier media release:

    pregnancy coupleExposure to early and chronic maternal depression markedly increases a child’s susceptibility to psychopathology and social-emotional problems, including social withdrawal, poor emotion regulation, and reduced empathy to others.

    Since 15-18% of women in industrial societies and up to 30% in developing countries suffer from maternal depression, it is of clinical and public health concern to understand the effects of maternal depression on children’s development. A study published in the January 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) followed children of mothers with depression from birth to preadolescence and tested depression’s impact on children’s neural empathic response to others’ distress.

    While previous studies have demonstrated the effects of maternal depression on children’s limited response to other’s pain, this new study is the first to examine this topic in a longitudinal sample of mother-child pairs followed from birth to age 11. This carefully selected sample of women with no comorbid contextual risk, who were repeatedly assessed for maternal depression across the first years of life, was utilized in order to compare children of mothers who were chronically depressed and children who were never exposed to any maternal psychopathology. 27 children of mothers with depression took part in the study, as well as 45 controls. They were home-visited at 9 months and 6 years to examine mother-child interaction patterns and were invited to a magnetoencephalography (MEG) session at age 11 in order to evaluate their neural reaction to pain in others.

    We were amazed to see that maternal depression in and of itself was related to differential neural processing of others’ pain in 11-year-old children. We found that the neural reaction to pain in children of depressed mothers stops earlier than in controls, in an area related to socio-cognitive processing, so that children of depressed mothers seem to reduce mentalizing-related processing of others’ pain, perhaps because of difficulty in regulating the high arousal associated with observing distress in others,” said Prof. Ruth Feldman, director of the Developmental Social Neuroscience Lab and the Irving B. Harris Early Childhood Community Clinic at Bar-Ilan University and lead author of the study.

    The researchers also found that mother-child interaction patterns had a crucial role on this effect. When mother-child interactions were more synchronous, that is, mother and child were better attuned to one another, and when mothers were less intrusive, children showed higher mentalizing-related processing in this crucial brain area.

    “It is encouraging to see the role of mother-child interactions in our findings. Depressed mothers are repeatedly found to show less synchronous and more intrusive interactions with their children, and so it might explain some of the differences found between children of depressed mothers and their peer controls in our study,” added Prof. Feldman. “If so, our findings highlight a point of entry, where future interventions can focus their attention to help reduce the effects of maternal depression on children’s psychosocial development.”

    Asked what next steps should be taken, Feldman responded: “The main clinical question now becomes: what strategies are most effective to improve mother-child interaction patterns for depressed mothers and their offspring. Moreover, if we are able to help these mothers be more attuned and less intrusive, will it be enough in order to enable resilience in the offspring? In addition, there are further scientific questions about the manner in which patterns of maternal care implement in the development of children’s brain, endocrine systems, behavior, and relationships.”

    To that end, Feldman and her team are studying how maternal depression and mother-child interactions are associated with children’s stress hormones, behavioral empathy, hormones related to bond formation, and their neural reaction to affiliative cues. Feldman is planning to study intervention strategies that focus on the mother-child interaction pattern, and is hopeful that if successful, these strategies will improve mental health and social adjustment in children of mothers with depression. “Wouldn’t it be interesting and promising if an intervention focused on synchronous mother-child interactions could also reduce the prevalence of psychopathology in the children of depressed mothers?” she concluded.

     


  4. Get better customer service by choosing your words wisely

    January 3, 2017 by Ashley

    From the University of British Columbia media release:

    senior_phoneThe next time you make a complaint to your cellphone or cable company, don’t get personal.

    New research, published recently in the Journal of Applied Psychology, from the University of British Columbia has found that what you say to customer service employees can determine the quality of service you receive. For example, personally targeting employees by saying, “Your product is garbage” instead of “This product is garbage,” can trigger negative responses from service employees.

    We know that customer service quality suffers when customers are rude or aggressive to employees,” said David Walker, the study’s lead author and assistant professor in the faculty of management at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus. “But our research is one of the first to pinpoint the specific words service employees hear from customers that can undermine the quality of customer service.”

    The researchers analyzed 36 hours of calls and over 100,000 words between a Canadian call centre’s customers and employees through transcript and computerized text analysis in a multi-level, multi-source, mixed-method field study. They found that more than 80 per cent of the calls contained aggressive customer language or interruptions. When customers were not aggressive towards employees, fewer than five per cent of calls had customer service problems, such as an employee making a blunt comment or using a raised voice.

    But, when customers targeted their aggression using second person pronouns (e.g. you, your) and interrupted the employee, customer service worsened in more than 35 per cent of calls. The researchers also found that these problematic effects were significantly reduced when customers used positive words like great and fine, suggesting that customers might be able to help employees provide better service by using more positive words.

    “In general, when customers use aggressive words or phrases to personally target customer service employees, or when they interrupt the person they are talking to, we found that the employee’s negative reaction is much stronger,” said study co-author Danielle van Jaarsveld, associate professor at the UBC Sauder School of Business.

    Based on these findings, researchers say customers can get better service from call centre employees through their choice of language and ability to follow conversation rules. Mixing positive language into the conversation can also lessen some stress that service employees experience on the job and result in better customer service.

    If customers change their language so that it’s less about the employee and more about the product or problem in question, they can improve the quality of the customer service they get,” said Walker. “Employees can handle a lot, but when aggressive language and interruptions happen together — combined with minimal positive language from the customer — employees get to a point where customer service quality suffers. Customers need to remember that they’re dealing with human beings.”


  5. School principals shape students’ values via school climate

    October 26, 2016 by Ashley

    From the Association for Psychological Science media release:

    principal_with_booksOver time, students’ personal values become more similar to those of their school principal, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Associational for Psychological Science.

    The findings indicate that principals’ values are linked with aspects of school climate which are, in turn, linked with students’ own values.

    “Given the vast amount of time children spend in school, it is important to assess the impact that schools have on children, beyond their impact on children’s academic skills,” say researchers Yair Berson (New York University and Bar-Ilan University) and Shaul Oreg (Cornell University and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem). “Our findings show that schools contribute to the formation of children’s values.

    Although there is a wealth of data showing relationships between aspects of the school environment and students’ academic achievement, relatively little is known about the effects of school climate on non-academic outcomes. Based on previous research investigating leaders’ influence on organizational culture and employees’ values, Berson and Oreg hypothesized that school principals might similarly influence school climate and students’ values over time.

    The researchers collected data from 252 school principals, over 3600 teachers, and almost 50,000 students in public elementary and secondary schools in Israel.

    Focusing on four well-established categories of values — self-enhancement, self-transcendence, openness to change, and conservation — school principals filled out a questionnaire in which they read statements about a hypothetical individual and rated how closely they aligned with their own values.

    Self-enhancement values were captured in achievement-focused statements (e.g., “Being successful is important to him”), whereas self-transcendence values were depicted in statements highlighting benevolence (e.g., “She goes out of her way to be a dependable and trustworthy friend.”). Values indicating openness to change were conveyed in statements related to preference for stimulation and self-direction (e.g., “She thinks it is important to have all sorts of new experiences,” “Being creative is important to him”). Conservation-related values were demonstrated in statements that covered conformity, tradition, and security (e.g., “It is important to him to follow the rules even when no one is watching,” “It is important to her to maintain traditional values and beliefs,” “Having order and stability in society is important to her”).

    At the same time, students completed age-appropriate measures that tapped into the same values. The students completed values measures again two years later.

    Teachers completed a survey measure focused on aspects of school climate that corresponded with the four values, including the degree to which school climate reflects an emphasis on stability (conservation values), support (self-transcendence values), innovation (openness-to-change values), and performance (self-enhancement values).

    Teachers also rated the degree to which students in their homeroom displayed various behaviors that reflected the same values.

    The researchers found that students’ values became more similar to those of their principal over the two-year study period.

    Principals’ personal outlook on life is reflected in the overall school atmosphere, which over time becomes reflected in schoolchildren’s personal outlook and eventual behavior,” Berson and Oreg explain in their paper.

    This pattern was consistent for all of the values except for one: conservation values.

    “Values that have to do with maintaining the status quo — emphasizing tradition, conformity and security — showed a different pattern, whereby principals’ values are associated with children’s values, but without the mediating role of the school climate,” say Berson and Oreg.

    The researchers speculate that unstudied mechanisms — such as principals’ selection of teachers — might explain this exception.

    Ultimately, determining whether principals’ influence on students’ values is good or bad will be up to the individual observer.

    “But the existence of these effects should alert principals to the substantial impact they have on children’s socialization to society,” the researchers write.


  6. Link between walk, aggression discovered

    September 14, 2016 by Ashley

    From the University of Portsmouth media release:

    teens walkingThe way people walk can give clues to how aggressive they are, a new exploratory study from the University of Portsmouth has found.

    The researchers from the Department of Psychology assessed the personalities of 29 participants, before using motion capture technology to record them walking on a treadmill at their natural speed.

    The study found that the exaggerated movement of both the upper and lower body indicated aggression.

    Lead researcher Liam Satchell said: “When walking, the body naturally rotates a little; as an individual steps forward with their left foot, the left side of the pelvis will move forward with the leg, the left shoulder will move back and the right shoulder forward to maintain balance. An aggressive walk is one where this rotation is exaggerated.

    The researchers asked participants to complete a questionnaire, which measured their levels of aggression.

    They also used a standard personality test called the ‘big five’ to assess personality traits including openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. Together they can help map the way people think, feel and behave.

    Using motion capture technology, which records the actions of humans and uses the information to bring to life digital character models in 3D computer animation, the researchers analysed thorax and pelvis movements, as well as speed of gait.

    Mr Satchell said: “People are generally aware that there is a relationship between swagger and psychology. Our research provides empirical evidence to confirm that personality is indeed manifest in the way we walk.

    “We know of no other examples of research where gait has been shown to correlate with self-reported measures of personality and suggest that more research should be conducted between automatic movement and personality.”

    Mr Satchell said identifying the potential relationship between an individual’s biological motion and their intention to engage in aggression could be used to help prevent crime.

    If CCTV observers could be trained to recognise the aggressive walk demonstrated in this research, their ability to recognise impending crimes could be improved further.”


  7. Borderline personality disorder: As scientific understanding increases, improved clinical management needed

    September 8, 2016 by Ashley

    From the Wolters Kluwer Health media release:

    abused woman domestic violenceEven as researchers gain new insights into the neurobiology of borderline personality disorder (BPD), there’s a pressing need to improve diagnosis and management of this devastating psychiatric condition. A scientific and clinical research update on BPD is presented in the September/October special issue of the Harvard Review of Psychiatry, published by Wolters Kluwer.

    The special issue comprises seven papers, contributed by experts in the field, providing an integrated overview of research and clinical management of BPD. “We hope these articles will help clinicians understand their BPD patients, encourage more optimism about their treatability, and help set a stage from which the next generation of mental health professionals will be more willing to address the clinical and public health challenges they present,” according to a guest editorial by Drs. Lois Choi-Kain and John Gunderson of the Adult Borderline Center and Training Institute at McLean Hospital, Belmont, Mass.

    Borderline Personality Disorder — Research Advances, Emerging Clinical Approaches

    Although the diagnostic criteria for BPD are well-accepted, it continues to be a misunderstood and sometimes neglected condition; many psychiatrists actively avoid making the diagnosis. Borderline personality disorder accounts for nearly 20 percent of psychiatric hospitalizations and outpatient clinic admissions, but only three percent of the research budget of the National Institute of Mental Health. (The NIMH provides information about BPD online at http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/borderline-personality-disorder)

    The Guest Editors hope their special issue will contribute to overcoming the disparity between BPD’s public health importance and the attention received by psychiatry. Highlights include:

    • A research update on the neurobiology of BPD. Evidence suggests that chronic stress exposure may lead to changes in brain metabolism and structure, thus affecting the processing and integration of emotion and thought. This line of research might inform new approaches managing BPD — possibly including early intervention to curb the neurobiological responses to chronic stress.
    • The urgent need for earlier intervention. A review highlights the risk factors, precursors, and early symptoms of BPD and mood disorders in adolescence and young adulthood. While the diagnosis of BPD may be difficult to make during this critical period, evaluation and services are urgently needed.
    • The emergence of evidence-based approaches for BPD. While these approaches have raised hopes for providing better patient outcomes, they require a high degree of specialization and treatment resources. A stepped-care approach to treatment is proposed, using generalist approaches to milder and initial cases of BPD symptoms, progressing to more intensive, specialized care based on clinical needs.
    • The critical issue of BPD in the psychiatric emergency department. This is a common and challenging situation in which care may be inconsistent or even harmful. A clinical vignette provides mental health professionals with knowledge and insights they can use as part of a “caring, informed, and practical” approach to helping BPD patients in crisis.

    The special issue also addresses the critical issue of resident training — preparing the next generation of mental health professionals to integrate research evidence into more effective management for patients and families affected by BPD. Drs. Choi-Kain and Gunderson add, “For clinicians, educators, and researchers, we hope this issue clarifies an emerging basis for earlier intervention, generalist approaches to care for the widest population, and a more organized approach to allocating care for individuals with BPD.”


  8. Why do consumers participate in ‘green’ programs?

    August 11, 2016 by Ashley

    From the Michigan State University media release:

    thinkingFrom recycling to reusing hotel towels, consumers who participate in a company’s “green” program are more satisfied with its service, finds a new study co-led by a Michigan State University researcher.

    Doing good makes customers feel good, and that “warm glow” shapes opinion, said Tomas Hult, Byington Endowed Chair and professor of marketing in the Eli Broad College of Business. But it gets more complicated when companies throw incentives into the mix.

    “Companies are increasingly adopting sustainability initiatives and ultimately these ‘green’ programs are intended to be good for the environment and also increase customers’ satisfaction,” said Hult, who is director of MSU’s International Business Center. “Our research helps strike the right balance between incentivizing customers to participate in green programs and focusing on the bottom-line performance of the company.”

    Hult and researchers from Cornell University and Florida State University conducted four studies in three service settings: restaurants, hotels and online retailing. They found the types of rewards offered by companies to participate in sustainability programs could affect satisfaction.

    The researchers tested two types of incentives: those that benefit solely the consumer (i.e. loyalty points) and those that benefit another organization (i.e. charitable donations).

    For green program participants, rewards that benefit another organization created the highest rate of satisfaction about the business.

    And for those who chose not to participate in a green program, self-benefiting rewards cast doubt about the motive of a program. That scenario offers nonparticipants an opportunity to rationalize their decision to not participate, and lack of guilt translates into feelings of satisfaction about the business, Hult said.

    People will interpret incentives in whatever way best suits their egos, he said. So for both groups to be happiest, a company should allow customers to choose between a reward that benefits themselves or another organization.

    Many managers, particularly in the hospitality industry, are reluctant to introduce sustainability initiatives that might negatively influence the guest experience, Hult said. But this research, one of the first of its kind, provides managers with guidance on how to best design such programs as well as best practices for “green marketing.”


  9. Benefit of organizational misconduct: Others in group may work harder, study says

    May 30, 2016 by Ashley

    From the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School media release:

    meeting circle canstockphoto1828283Misconduct within an organization is generally seen as a predicament at best, a catastrophe at worst.

    But a new study by a Johns Hopkins University business professor shows that such misconduct, or “deviance,” can prove beneficial by causing “non-deviant” members of the group to work harder in order to alleviate their own discomfort with the organization’s tarnished image.

    “The silver lining of organizational deviance may be the efforts of the uninvolved,” says lead researcher Brian Gunia, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School in Baltimore, Maryland.

    The urge to increase effort in the wake of group deviance is particularly strong among non-deviants who identify closely with their organizations and thus may perceive “an internal identity threat” because of the misconduct, he adds. The paper by Gunia and co-author Sun Young Kim of the IÉSEG School of Management in France, “The behavioral benefits of other people’s deviance,” was recently published in the online edition of Group Processes & Intergroup Relations. As the authors note, previous research primarily examined organizational misbehavior’s impact on only the deviant members; this new paper is among the first to consider the effect on the non-deviants, particularly looking at their exertion of effort during such a crisis. “The effects of misconduct extend far beyond the deviants,” Gunia says.

    In three separate studies with about 200 participants from around the United States, the researchers confirmed their main theory that non-deviant members work harder after witnessing deviance. The extra effort that follows a failure, however, is confined to those who identify highly with the organization; non-deviants whose identities are not so closely tied to the organization tend not to sense a threat to their identities, and so they are less inclined to exert increased effort, according to the study.

    The fictionalized examples of deviance posed to the study participants were of moderate severity ? that is, not serious enough to jeopardize a group’s existence. Yet the results across the board revealed the value of group identification, highlighting a previously unrecognized advantage for both a group and its members: The non-deviants’ enhanced effort accrues to the organization’s benefit while providing a coping mechanism and a potential boost in reputation for the members themselves, Gunia says.

    “The whole group benefits from increased effort, but individual members and their standing within the organization may improve as well,” he adds.

    In pointing out the ironic benefits of organizational deviance, the authors are quick to note that encouraging misconduct would be “patently unwise.” Yet they add that “deviance does happen with unfortunate frequency, and organizational leaders need to know how to respond.”

    The study suggests that leaders could respond by highlighting the similarities between the deviants and the non-deviants, which, “while uncomfortable,” could trigger in the latter group a feeling of association with the crisis and cause them to work harder. For example, leaders might say something like “Any of us could have fallen into this trap.”

    The researchers advise against blaming a few “bad apples,” as this appears to isolate and dismiss the problem, sidestepping any assignment of responsibility to the organization’s overall structure and leadership.

    Gunia and Kim indicate that their study suggests various future research topics. For example, would an instance of severe deviance also prompt increased effort, or would it cause the non-deviants to just leave? Additionally, would anyone work harder when a majority of the organization is involved in misconduct?


  10. Level of self-control linked to environment

    May 11, 2016 by Ashley

    From the Society for Consumer Psychology media release:

    park benchWhat should you do after a difficult day at work? Many people would take a peaceful walk in nature, but this may not be a wise choice for everyone.

    A Journal of Consumer Psychology study found evidence that people who are more prone to anxiety should instead take a walk in a busy, urban environment.

    “Previous literature says that natural environments tend to restore cognitive abilities better than urban environments, but we questioned whether this one-sided perspective was accurate,” says lead author Kevin Newman, an assistant professor at Providence College in Rhode Island.

    The researchers started by asking participants to perform tasks that drained them mentally, such as writing sentences without using the letters “A” or “N.” Then participants answered questions that revealed their level of neuroticism, such as whether they were a worrier, irritable, highly strung or experienced moods that often go up and down.

    Then all the subjects performed tasks that exposed them to words or pictures associated with either a natural or urban environment. Surprisingly, the results revealed that people with neurotic personalities had more success restoring their cognitive abilities after they viewed words related to a busy urban environment. The nature-related words, however, were more beneficial for people who were not generally neurotic.

    The researchers also discovered that neurotic people may not necessarily have to go to a busy urban setting to restore themselves mentally. In fact, nature could provide frenetic, stressful cues when the participants were exposed to words like “bear,” “cliff” and “thunder.” Similarly, people low in neuroticism may not need to seek out nature to revive themselves mentally. Cues from a calm place in a busy city–such as a bookstore or library–restored participants in this category.

    People tended to do better in environments that fit with their personality,” Newman says. “Imagine someone with a neurotic personality like Woody Allen. If you put him in a forest it could be very off-putting rather than rejuvenating.”

    The researchers also discovered that restoring the mind was tied to one’s ability to exert self-control. This correlation between environment and self-control could have implications related to health outcomes, Newman says. People may make healthier food choices if they choose environments that match their personality type, he explains.

    One of his experiments lends support to this theory. Neurotic participants had more financial discipline when they viewed safari vacation pictures and descriptions that matched their personality type. They were more likely to stick to a limited vacation budget when they saw safari photos with lions gnashing teeth and rhinos charging, but this was not the case when they viewed photos with leopards sleeping and rhinos grazing peacefully.

    The findings could influence the way companies design retail and online spaces or offer products. If a product or store tends to attract a certain personality type, then the company may want to design the environment to be compatible with consumers. An experiential product, such as a cruise, may want to offer activities that appeal to both neurotic and non-neurotic passengers, such as zip-lining or time on the beach, Newman says.

    The different environmental needs of varying personality types may be increasingly relevant because studies show that Americans have shifted towards higher levels of neuroticism in recent decades, Newman says.