From Personality to Behavior

In this week's lecture, we'll discuss Openness. Despite being one of only 5 major dimensions of personality, little is known about openness. We will try and summarise the world's literature on O and also look at O-related behaviors - from creativity to political attitudes.

Then we turn to how basic personality mechanisms are linked to behaviour via values and beliefs (using the example of deciding how to vote).

Finally, we'll talk about how personality influences rationality.

Lecture Slides pptx

Preparation: Think about how personality might cause behaviour. That is, what mechanisms connect personality to our actions? Are there direct links? Or are the links mediated by some intermediate "layer"? Ask yourself also:

  • What is Openness? How is it different from IQ? What would the brain do to be "open"?
  • Is low openness "closed"? Is that bad? What are then benefits of closed-mindedness?
  • What are values? What does it mean for a person to have values?
  • Why would openness make people more liberal?

Homework for next week: Complete the Ryff Eudaimonia measure HERE
(takes around 10 minutes - copy and or print out the scores you get at the end: How do you think these scores would relate to your 5FM profile?

apologies: The feedback is not working for these tests: I will fix it, hopefully over the weekend - then you will be able to see your Eudaimonia scores.


  • From Personality to Politics: Lewis & Bates (2011)
  • Politics and Values
    • Stanton, S. J., Beehner, J. C., Saini, E. K., Kuhn, C. M. and Labar, K. S. (2009). Dominance, politics, and physiology: voters' testosterone changes on the night of the 2008 United States presidential election. PLoS One, 4. e7543. doi. PMID.
    • Oxley, D. R., Smith, K. B., Alford, J. R., Hibbing, M. V., Miller, J. L., Scalora, M., Hatemi, P. K. and Hibbing, J. R. (2008). Political attitudes vary with physiological traits. Science, 321. 1667-1670. doi. PMID.
    • Rozin, P., Haidt, J. and Fincher, K. (2009). Psychology. From oral to moral. Science, 323. 1179-1180. doi. PMID.
    • Chiao, J. Y. and Blizinsky, K. D. (2010). Culture-gene coevolution of individualism-collectivism and the serotonin transporter gene. Proc Biol Sci, 277. 529-537. doi. PMID.
1. McCrae, R. R. and Greenberg, D. M. (2014). Openness to Experience. The Wiley Handbook of Genius222-243. [doi]. pdf.
2. Nusbaum, E. C. and Silvia, P. J. (2011). Are intelligence and creativity really so different?: Fluid intelligence, executive processes, and strategy use in divergent thinking. Intelligence, 39. 36-45. doi. link.
3. Nusbaum, E. C. and Silvia, P. J. (2011). Are Openness and Intellect distinct aspects of Openness to Experience? A test of the O/I model. Personality and Individual Differences, 51. 571-574. doi].
4. Silvia, P. J., Nusbaum, E. C., Berg, C., Martin, C. and O'Connor, A. (2009). Openness to experience, plasticity, and creativity: Exploring lower-order, high-order, and interactive effects. Journal of Research in Personality, 43. 1087-1090. doi.
5. Silvia, P. J. and Sanders, C. E. (2010). Why are smart people curious? Fluid intelligence, openness to experience, and interest. Learning and Individual Differences, 20. 242-245. doi.
6. Silvia, P. J., Kaufman, J. C., Reiter-Palmon, R. and Wigert, B. (2011). Cantankerous creativity: Honesty-Humility, Agreeableness, and the HEXACO structure of creative achievement. Personality and Individual Differences, 51. 687-689. doi.