To What Extent Can Personality Traits Suggest an Individual’s Preference of Film Genre?

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To what extent can personality traits suggest an individual’s preference of film genre?

This study investigates the relationship between personality and preference of film genre. Three scales of personality trait were selected from the International Personality Item Pool (IPIP) based on the revised version of the NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R: Costa & McCrae, 1992) and were assessed using a questionnaire. To assess preference of film genre, 9 film trailers grouped into three main genre categories were watched and rated in terms of interest and likelihood of watching. Results show a significant positive relationship between the personality trait Openness to Experience and preference for Fantasy films. There was also a significant positive correlation between agreeableness and preference for Romantic films. A regression analysis was carried out to further assess findings and results and implications are discussed.

Research into personality and the factors or traits that make up an individual’s personality have long been a key area of psychological study. It has been increasingly acknowledged that five predominant traits can be said to define ones personality. An influential and commonly used model of measuring the 5 factors of personality is that of Costa and McCrae (1992) which outlines the traits as, Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism. In the quest to understand personality types, a large amount of research has been conducted to explore artistic and cultural taste and how an individual’s ‘taste’ could be predicted by their personality type. Renfrow & Gosling (2006) argue that a key piece of information we use to convey details about out personalities to one another is our taste and preference in music, therefore it can be said that music preference is related to personality. An area that has received less attention however, is that of personality trait and film genre preference. Of the work that has been conducted in this area most have explored the relationship between horror films containing gore and violence and personality traits (Tamborini, R & Stiff, J 1987; Zuckerman & Litle 2002) As a continuation of work completed in the area of personality and to expand on the relationship between personality traits and film genre preference, this study assesses the link between three of the ‘5 factor’ personality traits and three main film genres. Previous research has expressed that individuals who are ‘open to experience’ prefer like media with challenging content and non-predictable concepts (Kraaykamp, & Van Eijck 2005). It was therefore hypothesised that the personality trait ‘Openness to experience’ would relate to the ‘Fantasy’ film genre (Hypothesis 1) Individuals who score high on the agreeableness scale tend to enjoy social interaction and are more sympathetic, with ‘tender-heartedness’- as one of the constituent factors of agreeableness (Costa & McCrae 1992 ) hence it was hypothesised that there would be a relationship between agreeableness and Romantic film genre (Hypothesis 2).Costa & McCrae 1988 found that people who score high on the extraversion scale have been found to prefer high arousal levels and therefore it was hypothesised that ‘Extraversion’ would correlate with a preference for watching ‘Action’ films. The study will assesses how far we can predict the subject’s film preference from their personality traits.


A 3 x 3 within subjects design was used to assess two independent variables; personality trait and film genre preference. Each variable was measured using a lichert scale questionnaire and total scores were calculated for each category.

50 participants in total were gained using opportunity sampling. Each researcher collected data from 10 participants. In total data was collected from 28 females and 22 males between the...
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