Books

Joanita Wibowo

What the books you read say about your personality

What the books you read say about your personality

Many believe that what you read says a lot about who you are – as director Guillermo del Toro once said, “Browsing through someone’s library is like peeking into their DNA.”

But can our personality truly predict our tastes in books? Yes, according to a study published on Journal of Personality.

In the study based on a survey of 3,227 participants, the researchers found that preferences in books, magazines, music, TV and movies are correlated with certain personalities.

The correlation with personality type is also found to be stronger than other factors, such as gender, age and ethnicity.

The study asked whether the respondents preferred:

a) Daytime talk shows, romance, cooking and religion

b) Arts and humanities, classics, foreign films and poetry

c) Horror, cult films and erotic novels

d) Action and adventure, thrillers, sci-fi films and spy stories

e) News, documentaries and nonfiction

From the answers, the researchers were able to determine the personality type to which the participants belonged. If you prefer a) you are communal; b) aesthetic; c) dark; d) thrilling; or e) cerebral.

Communal people tend to be relationship-oriented and empathic, if unadventurous. Fans of aesthetic and dark entertainment tend to be creative and intellectual, but while the former are calmer and more introspective, the latter may see themselves as more defiant, reckless and immodest.

Cerebral individuals are likely to be well-organised, innovative and self-assured to a point where they dislike cooperation. Thrilling is the only preference with no consistent correlation to any personality facets.

However, the researchers said personality might not be the only driver in taste, citing political leanings and mood as a few other factors that may be in play.

Other studies have their own propositions on what influences our genre preferences. Last year, the Australian Cultural Fields project found that education and occupation are strong predictors of what you might find enjoyable in books. People with high school qualifications are the most likely to prefer romance and sport, while those with postgraduate degrees are the most likely to read biographies, thriller and literary classics for pleasure or interest.

Do you agree with the findings from these studies? Let us know in the comments.