A bottom-up approach dramatically increases the predictability of body mass from personality traits

Kadri Arumäe, Uku Vainik, René Mõttus, Sohaib Mustafa (Editor)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Personality traits consistently relate to and allow predicting body mass index (BMI), but these associations may not be adequately captured with existing inventories’ domains or facets. Here, we aimed to test the limits of how accurately BMI can be predicted from and described with personality traits. We used three large datasets (combined N ≈ 100,000) with nearly 700 personality assessment items to (a) empirically identify clusters of personality traits linked to BMI and (b) identify relatively small sets of items that predict BMI as accurately as possible. Factor analysis revealed 14 trait clusters showing well-established personality trait–BMI associations (disorganization, anger) and lesser-known or novel ones (altruism, obedience). Most of items’ predictive accuracy (up to r = .24 here but plausibly much higher) was captured by relatively few items. Brief scales that predict BMI have potential clinical applications—for instance, screening for risk of excessive weight gain or related complications.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0295326
Number of pages15
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume19
Issue number1 January
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • personality traits
  • body weight
  • personality
  • medical risk factors
  • forecasting
  • body mass index
  • emotions
  • weight gain

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