COVID-19: Your personality influences how likely you are to stay at home during ...

Extroverts are more likely to break lockdown rules, a study into how personality affects the likelihood that individuals will stay home during the pandemic has found.

Researchers from Cambridge and the US analysed the behaviours and personalities of more than 101,000 people worldwide during the first wave of COVID-19.

The researchers also found that people who were less neurotic and less open to new experiences were more likely to venture outside of their homes when rules were lax.

The latter finding surprised the team — who had assumed that openminded people, who often take more risks, would be more likely to dismiss stay-at-home guidance.

However, openness has also been associated with more accurate risk perception and a less self-centred viewpoint, which the team said could explain this trend.

Extroverts are more likely to break lockdown rules, a study into how personality affects the likelihood that individuals will stay home during the pandemic has found. Pictured, crowds gather at Bournemouth beach the day before England's rule-of-six restriction came into force

Extroverts are more likely to break lockdown rules, a study into how personality affects the likelihood that individuals will stay home during the pandemic has found. Pictured, crowds gather at Bournemouth beach the day before England's rule-of-six restriction came into force

'People who scored low on two personality traits — openness to experience and neuroticism — were less likely to shelter at home in the absence of stringent government measures,' said University of Cambridge psychologist Friedrich Götz.

However, he added, 'that tendency went away when more restrictive government policies were implemented.'

'Initially, this was a bit astounding, as open individuals have traditionally been shown to be prone to risk taking, willing to deviate from cultural norms and likely to seek out and approach novel and unfamiliar things.'

'All of which would arguably put them at greater risk to ignore sheltering-in-place recommendations,' he commented.

However, the researchers explained, openness traits are also related to making accurate risk perceptions, universalism and identification with other humans.

'Thus, in the digitalised world in which the current pandemic occurred, these qualities may have led open individuals to follow the Covid-19 outbreak in other countries, realise its severity and act accordingly,' Mr Götz said.

In their study, Mr Götz and colleagues analysed data from a global survey, undertaken as the pandemic first took hold, that probed how people behaved — as well as how they perceived the behaviour of others — in response to COVID-19.

This included the responses of more than 101,000 participants from across 55 different countries — with the data gathered between March 20–April 5 2020.

Participants were also asked about their demographics — and were tasked with answering a series of personality questions.

This allowed the researchers to grade each respondent based on the so-called 'Big Five' personality traits — which include agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism and openness.

Researchers from Cambridge and the US analysed the behaviours and personalities of more than 101,000 people worldwide during the first wave of COVID-19. The team graded each respondent based on the so-called 'Big Five' personality traits (pictured) — which include agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism and openness

Researchers from Cambridge and the US analysed the behaviours and personalities of more than 101,000 people worldwide during the first wave of COVID-19. The team graded each respondent based on the so-called 'Big Five' personality traits (pictured) — which include agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism and openness

The researchers also found that people who were less neurotic and less open to new experiences were more likely to venture outside of their homes when rules were lax. Pictured, revellers in Liverpool gathering in groups on the streets after bars closed during COVID-19

The researchers also found that people who were less neurotic and less open to new experiences were more likely to venture outside of their homes when rules were lax. Pictured, revellers in Liverpool gathering in groups on the streets after bars closed during COVID-19

Alongside analysing individual behaviours and personalities, the team also looked at the stringency of country-level COVID-19 policies — such as, for example, measures to close schools and workplaces or cancel public events to halt the virus' spread.

The team found that — together — the extent of government restrictions

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