Personality Psychology (740)

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Sutin et al., (2013)

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7 Comments to “Sutin et al., (2013)”
  1. Carly Tocco says:

    In the article by Sutin and colleagues, the authors start out explaining how high BMI has been previously linked to BIG 5 traits such as high neuroticism and low conscientiousness, which seemed to make intuitive sense to me. Before reading this article, I never considered the fact that changes in weight could influence your personality. After thinking this through, I initially thought about a person’s self-esteem and how this may be the moderating variable between weight gain and personality change. While the authors discussed this relationship, I wondered about severe weight loss and personality change either as a result of intended diet and exercise or in the case of eating disorders or depression. Would losing weight from different origins affect personality? As this study took its sample size (which was impressively large!) from Baltimore I started to think about the WEIRD acronym we discussed in class. Even though I expected a more diverse sample, most we educated 17 years and were primarily white. The finding that weight gain on second assessment showed increases in impulsivity and their increased tendency to give into temptation did not surprise me, even though these characteristics and traits usually decline with age (as carefully noted by the authors). I thought the study would have been stronger if they included information about people who lost weight (medical condition, psychiatric condition, intentional) and added that into the mix with maintaining weight and gaining weight. I would be interested to know what personality changes would occur, if any, in this scenario and if the reason behind losing weight would matter. I also would be interested to see if the reason behind gaining weight mattered and I feel like the authors could have parsed this out. Overall, i appreciated the connection between mind and body and enjoyed reading this article!

    • Mahathi Kosuri says:

      Carly- great post! At first, I didn’t think of weight influencing personality either but then I thought about how people who have eating disorders have significant shifts in mood. I too am wondering whether it were a different reason for weight loss, certain patterns of personality would likely emerge.

  2. Katie says:

    Hey Carly, I also wondered about low BMI and Big 5 traits while reading this article. For weight loss due to eating disorders, I have to imagine that N would go up with weight loss. I wonder, though, if we’d also see personality changes for people who lose weight (low BMI) for other reasons. Based on the findings here for high BMI, it seems very possible that low BMI would also have a relationship with personality changes.

    • Carly Tocco says:

      Hi Katie, I agree that for an eating disorder N would go up. I wonder if impulsivity would increase though for a low BMI. It seems to me that the missing piece of this article is the reasons behind the weight gain. I think this is a good launching point, but a follow up study looking into the etiology behind the weight change is imperative for a comprehensive understanding of its link to personality!

    • Chalana Martin says:

      Hey great critique and I also wondered about the personality change in those with low BMI. There should be more research into how it may affect personality.

  3. Chalana Martin says:

    Personality traits are believed to have a relationship to weight gain. Consequently, weight gain may be linked to a change in personality. The article “I Know Not to, But I Can’t Help It: Weight Gain and Changes in Impulsivity-Related Personality Traits” puts forward these claims in detail. My thoughts along with a few critiques of that article are herein discussed.
    My Thoughts
    The article is based on a research study that was conducted over a span of 10 years to evaluate and determine the link between the change in weight and personality change. With that in mind, I first applause the great job achieved in these study, as it was all inclusive of participants from all socioeconomic status and ages. The study is detailed in its sample cluster and the findings it achieved. The article clearly explains the relative link between weight gain and personality change in people, ranging from different age sets and socio-economic class. The information contained in the article enlightens and elaborates the situation with overweight and obese individuals. Hence, it makes it easier to understand such people without despising them.
    The study that was published in the article, despite being so detailed, had some flaws in it. One of the flaws is that the article uses education as a gauge to determine the participant’s socio-economic status. For instance, there are some uneducated people who have a lavish lifestyle than their educated counterparts. At some other point, the article portrays that personality change comes with weight gain but does not tell us what kind of traits change or at what level of impulsiveness they show. From my point of view, I would suggest that the article is not comprehensive when it comes to detail the link between weight and personality.
    Several questions arise from the article since the subject is not covered comprehensively. One of them regards the issue of controlling personal traits: what kind of personal traits change apart from being unable to control their cravings? The other questions are about education in relation to a person’s weight: what kind of measures can be put in place to stop the older and educated people from losing their personality and control of their weight? What guidelines or measures can be implemented to curb stylization among overweight and obese people? And what support system can they or their loved ones implement to help them have control of their weight and personality?

    • Hande says:

      Hi Chalana,

      I though about the same thing, when I finished reading this article. Is educating someone with what to eat or not to eat enough? What I’ve seen with people that gain weight is they could be very well aware of what they’re doing is wrong but cannot stop themselves. So, the future research should focus more on how to work on impulsivity.

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