Friendships, Vaccines, and Impressions: Understanding Individuals with Differences

Friendships, Vaccines, and Impressions:

The Social Psychological & Personality Science journal has released two new studies discussing the differences in humans and the effects those differences have on impressions, friendships, romantic relationships, and even vaccines. Unlike many anthropological studies that focus on the similarities among humans, these studies are looking at the things that make humans individuals. This includes looking at individual personality traits, friendship patterns, and vaccine attitudes, and the results revealed that acknowledging the differences in individuals helps to better understand humanity as a whole.

Friendships and Personalities

The Finnish Family Federation and the University of Helsinki Institute for Behavioural Sciences, Finland, looked at 12,098 people and 34,000 of their friends to discover the connection between personality traits and friendship patterns between individuals and three of their closest friends. The results were based on the five-factor personality model, which theorizes that the five basic human personality traits are extraversion, agreeableness, openness to experiences, conscientiousness and neuroticism.

The study found that people who are more open are 3 percent more likely to have friends unlike themselves than those who are more introverted. Scientists also found that those who are generally agreeable and extroverted were also likely to have more traditional friendships.

Attitudes about Vaccines

With vaccine attitudes having been a topic of great controversy in the last few years, Russ Clay, a psychology professor at the College of Staten Island decided to study why so many people tend to have such negative views on vaccinations. Clay’s research found that there is a connection between the behavioral immune system—which is responsible for people’s feelings of disgust—and a negative attitude towards vaccines. Those who have higher feelings of disgust are more likely to be against vaccines.

Using two study groups—one student-based and the other consisting of non-students—Clay found that those who have a higher disposition for disgust are more likely to shun vaccines, with the question of whether an intuitive fear of contamination was related to a negative attitude about vaccines.

“Friendships, vaccines, and impressions: Upcoming studies in SPPS,” Society for Personality and Social Psychology;, last accessed September 1, 2016.

Laakasuo, A., et al., “The Company You Keep,” Social Psychology & Personal Science, August 30, 016;, last accessed September 1, 2016.

Clay, R., “The Behavioral Immune System and Attitudes about Vaccines,” Social Psychology & Personal Science, August 30, 2016;, last accessed September 1, 2016.