Tag Archives: Robert McCrae

Self Compassion, not Self-Esteem, Enhances Performance

Juliana Breines

Juliana Breines

Self-compassion –  treating one’s own suffering with the same support and compassion offered to others – is more important than self-esteem in developing skill and performance, found University of California, Berkeley’s Juliana Breines and Serena Chen.

Self-compassion enables people to accept their mistakes, failures, shortcomings with kindness.
In addition, self-compassion enables awareness of painful thoughts and feelings with equanimity.
This approach is optimized when accompanied by accepting responsibility for unsuccessful performance outcomes, and using the information to non-punitively improve performance, they noted.

Serena Chen

Volunteers considered an actual personal setback or failure with self-compassion or self-esteem-enhancing perspective (considering one’s positive qualities and accomplishments).
Participants who practiced a self-compassionate perspective tended to view personal shortcomings as changeable, and felt more motivated to improve performance by avoiding the same mistake in the future.

Another task induced failure, then provided an opportunity to improve performance in a later trial.
Volunteers who viewed their initial test failure with self-compassion devoted 25 per cent more time to preparing for future trials, and scored higher on the second test than those who focused on bolstering their self-esteem.

Breines and Chen suggested that self-compassion can enhance performance because it enables more dispassionate assessment of actions, abilities, and opportunities for future improvement.
Self-esteem-bolstering thoughts may narrow focus to consider only positive characteristics while overlooking opportunities for improvement.

Kristin Neff

Kristin Neff

Self-compassion measures were related to positive personality characteristics outlined in Robert McCrae and Paul Costa’s five factor model of personality known by the acronym OCEAN:

Robert McCrae

Robert McCrae

  • Openness (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious)
  • Conscientiousness (efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless)
  • Extraversion (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved)
  • Agreeableness (friendly/compassionate vs. cold/unkind)
  • Neuroticism (sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident)
    in a study by Kristin Neff and Stephanie Rude of University of Texas, and Kristin Kirkpatrick of Eastern Kentucky University.
Paul Costa

Paul Costa

Neff’s team found that higher levels of personal well-being, optimism, initiative, conscientiousness, curiosity, happiness associated were associated with self-compassion.
In addition, higher self-compassion was related to lower anxiety and depression.

However “priming” participants to think of an important person in their lives was associated with more negative self-evaluations, self-criticism, and negative moods in research by Mark Baldwin of McGill University,

Mark Baldwin

Mark Baldwin

Research on evoked self-compassion and its negative partner, self-criticism, suggests that compassionate self-appraisals enable people to perform better and experience more positive moods than self-critical evaluations.

-*How have you applied self-compassion to improve performance?

Related Post
Working toward Goals with “Implementation Intentions”

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Openness to Experience Predicts Untapped Musical Ability

David M. Greenberg

David M. Greenberg

Openness to Experience was the most accurate predictors of musical ability, even among people with no musical experience, found University of Cambridge’s David M. Greenberg and Daniel Müllensiefen of University of London.

Daniel Müllensiefen

Daniel Müllensiefen

This finding enables parents and educators to encourage promising but inexperienced musical talent to pursue the cognitive and performance-enhancing benefits of musical training, described in earlier blog posts.

For example, musical training’s beneficial effect on reducing the cost of task switching is relevant in many work situations that require rapid shifts in attentional focus, and was empirically validated by York University’s Linda Moradzadeh, Galit Blumenthal, and Melody Wiseheart.

Paul Costa

Paul Costa

More than among 7,800 participants provided detailed demographic information, including their musical experience.
In addition, they completed the Big Five Inventory of personality dimensions, developed by NIH’s Paul Costa and Robert McCrae:

  • Extroversion,
  • Agreeableness,
  • Conscientiousness,
  • Neuroticism,
  • Openness to Experience.
Robert McCrae

Robert McCrae

Within Openness to Experience, volunteers rated their agreement with Openness to Aesthetics items like:
“I see myself as someone who:

  • values artistic, aesthetic experiences,
  • has few artistic interests,
  • is sophisticated in art, music, or literature.”

Besides their Openness to Aesthetic experience, participants rated their musical expertise, and completed musical ability assessments.
Almost three-quarters reported playing no musical instrument.

Linda Moradzadeh

Linda Moradzadeh

Volunteers listened to unfamiliar 10-note to 17-note melodies, which were repeated in a different key, then decided whether the two melodies were the same.
In another musical skills task, volunteers listened to excerpts of instrumental music were overlaid with a metronomic beep, then judged whether the beep was on the beat.
Those who scored higher on Openness to Experience performed significantly better on musical tasks, even if they reported no musical experience.

Galit Blumenthal

Galit Blumenthal

These findings suggest that it’s possible to identify people who are likely to have musical talent based on their personality characteristics, even if they have no musical experience.
This research may encourage families, educators, and academic policy makers to encourage music training and capitalize on its well-documented cognitive benefits – even among those who are Open to Experience but not musically experienced.

-*How does Openness to Experience enhance work-related performance?

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Peer-Rated Personality Traits Predict Longevity

Joshua Jackson

Joshua Jackson

Self-rated personality traits and ratings by others effectively predicted mortality risk, according to Washington University’s Joshua J. Jackson, working with James J. Connolly and Madeleine M. Leveille of Connolly Consulting to collaborate with Vanderbilt University’s S. Mason Garrison and Touro University Seamus L. Connolly.
In fact, and friends’ ratings were even better predictors of longevity than were self-reports of personality,

E. Lowell Kelly

E. Lowell Kelly

The team used 75 years of data beginning in 1935 from Kelly/Connolly Longitudinal Study on Personality and Aging (KCLS), along with mortality information across 75 years, developed by University of Michigan’s E. Lowell Kelly and James J. Conley.

Robert McCrae

Robert McCrae

Both study participants and their close friends rated volunteers’ personality traits, “Big Five” traits—conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, neuroticism and openness—described by NIH’s Robert McCrae and Paul Costa.

James Connolly

James Connolly

Male participants seen by their friends as more conscientious and open lived longer, whereas friend-rated emotional stability and agreeableness predicted longevity for women.
Men’s self-ratings of personality traits were somewhat accurate predictors of lifespan, but not women’s self-reports.

Mason Garrison

Mason Garrison

Jackson’s group noted that friends’ ratings were more reliable predictors because multiple evaluations were aggregated rather than relying on a single self-rating.
In addition, “…friends may see something that you miss; they may have some insight that you do not….people may be biased or miss certain aspects of themselves and we are not able to counteract that because there is only one you, only one self-report.

David Yeager

David Yeager

Comparing self-reports with multi-rater reports, University of Pennsylvania’s Angela Duckworth and David Scott Yeager of University of Texas Austin concluded that  “…each approach is imperfect in its own way.

These findings reinforce the importance of multi-rater feedback to provide insight into long-standing personality trends affecting health status.
This increased self-awareness can help people increase conscientious self-care, optimism, agreeableness, and calm stability to enhance long term health status.

-*How have you helped others improve health status by modifying personality styles?

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Cynical Beliefs Linked to Lower Earnings, Poorer Health

Olga Stavrova

Olga Stavrova

People who hold cynical beliefs about human nature and the world have lower incomes than those with a more optimistic view, found University of Cologne’s Olga Stavrova and Daniel Ehlebracht.

Cynical beliefs are measured by statements including:

  • “I think most people would lie to get ahead,”
  • “It’s safer to trust nobody,”
  • “Most people will use somewhat unfair reasons to gain profit or an advantage rather than lose it.”
Daniel Ehlebracht

Daniel Ehlebracht

People who agree with these ideas may avoid cooperation, trust and collaboration with others and while focusing on monitoring, control, and preventing potential exploitation.

Volunteers who endorsed these self-protective behaviors and cynical beliefs reported lower personal income than people who demonstrate greater trust and interpersonal collaboration in studies using a representative sample of Americans between 1986 and 2012, and replicated with a representative German group between 2003 and 2012.

Robert McCrae

Robert McCrae

A related study showed that income-suppressing cynical beliefs are not associated with enduring personality characteristic measured by Robert McCrae of NIH and Paul Costa’s Big Five personality dimensions.

In addition, lower earnings were not explained by cynical individuals’ poorer health, lower education, and greater agreement with items that measure neuroticism and introversion.

Paul Costa

Paul Costa

However, some cynical beliefs are justified by the local environment, such as in counties with low levels of charitable giving, high homicide rates and high overall societal cynicism levels.
Survey data from 41 countries showed that people in these contexts who held cynical beliefs did not have lower personal income than those with more optimistic views.

Anna-Maija Tolppanen

Anna-Maija Tolppanen

Holding cynical beliefs about people was also associated with greater risk of dementia and death among the elderly in a study over 8 to 10 years, according to University of Eastern Finland’s Elisa NeuvonenMinna Rusanen, Anna-Maija Tolppanen, collaborating with Alina Solomon of University of Kuopio, Flinders University’s Tiina Laatikainen, with Tiia Ngandu of Finland’s National Institute for Health and Welfare, Hilkka Soininen of Hospital District of North Karelia, and Kuopio University Hospital’s Miia Kivipelto.

Alina Solomon

Alina Solomon

The team measured cynical distrust with the Cook-Medley Hostility Scale (CMHS) by University of Minnesota’s Walter Cook and Donald Medley, and cognitive status using screening, clinical phase, and differential diagnosis using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV) criteria for more than 1450 people.

People with highest level of cynical distrust had higher risk of dementia after the researchers controlled for confounding factors including:

  • Age,
  • Gender,
  • Systolic blood pressure,
  • Total cholesterol,
  • Fasting glucose,
  • Body mass index,
  • Socioeconomic background,
  • Smoking,
  • Alcohol use,
  • Self-reported health,
  • Apolipoprotein E (APOE).
Tiina Laatikainen

Tiina Laatikainen

People with highest levels of cynical distrust were three times more likely to develop dementia than people with low levels of cynicism, even when Neuvonen’s team controlled for effects of dementia risk, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking.

Tiia Ngandu

Tiia Ngandu

This finding supports suggestions that people who are more open and optimistic have a lower risk for dementia.

Hilary Tindle

Hilary Tindle

In related findings, positive expectations about the future, and trait optimism were associated with reduced rates of coronary heart disease (CHD) and mortality in postmenopausal women, reported University of Pittsburgh’s Hilary A. Tindle, Yue-Fang Chang, Lewis H. Kuller, Greg J. Siegle, Karen A. Matthews, collaborating with Harvard’s JoAnn E. Manson, Jennifer G. Robinson of University of Iowa, and University of Massachusetts’ Milagros C. Rosal.

Michael Scheier

Michael Scheier

More than 97,250 white and black women with no signs of cancer and cardiovascular disease completed the Life Orientation Test–Revised (LOT-R) by Carnegie Mellon’s Michael Scheier and Charles Carver of University of Miami, plus the Cook Medley Questionnaire’s cynicism subscale.

Charles Carver

Charles Carver

Women who scored in the top quartile for optimism had lower age-adjusted rates of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) and total mortality.
Black women with this optimistic perspective also had significantly less cancer-related mortality.

In contrast, those who scored in the top quartile for cynical hostility had significantly higher rates of CHD and total mortality, reinforcing the value of cultivating a positive viewpoint.

Hilkka Soininen

Hilkka Soininen

Likewise, individuals with the highest cynical distrust measured by Cook-Medley Hostility Scale had higher risk of dementia after adjusting for confounding factors including socioeconomic position, lifestyle, alcohol use, and health status, found Neuvonen’s team.

Financial, physical, and cognitive well-being can be enhanced by cultivating optimism and trust and reducing cynicism.

-*How do you increase and sustain optimism, trust, and collaboration?

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How Accurate are Personality Judgments Based on Physical Appearance?

Appearance, including facial expression, posture, and clothing provide important visual communications to observers.
-*How accurately do observers comprehend these visual communications?

Laura Naumann

Laura Naumann

Simine Vazire

Simine Vazire

Sonoma State University’s Laura Naumann collaborated with Simine Vazire of Washington University in St. Louis, University of Cambridge’s Peter Rentfrow, and Samuel Gosling of University of Texas at Austin to evaluate observers’ accuracy in judging personality traits based on the appearance of people they didn’t know.

Peter Rentfrow

Peter Rentfrow

Volunteers rated 10 personality traits (Paul Costa and Robert McCrae’s Big Five: Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism, as well as likability, self-esteem, loneliness, religiosity, and political orientation) attributed to people pictured full-body photographs.

Samuel Gosling

Samuel Gosling

The research team compared these measures with ratings by the photographed person and people acquainted with the person.

Paul Costa

Paul Costa

Observers’ judgments were accurate when they rated extraversion, self-esteem, and religiosity among people photographed in a “standardized” pose, and were correct for even more of personality traits when judging photographs in spontaneous poses and facial expressions.
This suggests that candid photographs can provide even more accurate cues to some personality characteristics than planned poses.

Robert McCrae

Robert McCrae

According to Naumann’s team, static cues such as clothing style, and dynamic cues including facial expression and posture provided “cue validity” that enabled observers to make accurate judgments of personality characteristics by “cue utilization.”

John Irving

John Irving

These findings confirmed that observers can make accurate inferences about some personality characterics based on visual cues about others, validating novelist John Irving’s same assertion through his narrator, John Wheelwright, in A Prayer for Owen Meany: “Things often are as they appear. First impressions matter.

-*How accurate are your judgments of personality traits in people you don’t already know?
-*How accurate are other people’s inferences about your personality traits?

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