While many scientists explore what people have in common, several studies publishing online to Social Psychological and Personality Science show us how differences help us understand individuals.
The company you keep: Personality and friendship characteristics
Laakasuo, Michael; Rotkirch, Anna; Berg, Venla; Jokela, Markus
While it is well known that people tend to form friendships with others who have a similar personality, scientists have discovered a connection between personality traits and differences in friendship patterns. Using the five factor personality model (extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism & openness to experience) the research shows people high in openness are about 3% more likely than people low in openness to have friends who are different from them. People high in agreeableness and extraversion showed more traditional friendship ties. The authors, from the Finnish Family Federation and from the University of Helsinki Institute for Behavioral Sciences, Finland, analyzed data on 12,098 people and their 34,000 friends from the British Household Panel Survey to investigate how people's personalities are related to various characteristics of their three closest friends.
The behavioral immune system and attitudes about vaccines: Contamination aversion predicts more negative vaccine attitudes
Higher feelings of disgust predict negative attitudes towards vaccines, according to a recent study from Russ Clay, a psychology professor at the College of Staten Island. In a pair of experiments, the connection between disgust and negative vaccine attitudes occurred in both student (study 1) and non-student (study 2) groups. The results support findings from other studies on the connections between the behavioral immune system and vaccine attitudes.
Spontaneous trait inferences on social media
Levordashka, Ana; Utz, Sonja
Research shows how strong reactions help people form impressions of others, even online. Yet the material average people post typically tends to be mild, self-generated, and not particularly extreme. Researchers from the Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien (IWM), Tuebingen, Germany, set out to determine if more typical status updates, like "I spilled coffee on my laptop," and browsing behaviors could create the same immediate impressions seen in the more "extreme" settings. Their findings suggest that even with common everyday activities, spontaneous trait inferences occur on social media.