Where is your true self located?
What if there was one question you could ask someone that determines their personality type, or, what kind of person they are? For instance, a dog or a cat person, or a fan of The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
Well, it turns out there is a question that can tell you a whole lot about a person: Do you think your self is located in your heart or your brain?
In 2013, there was a series of 9 studies, and this question was asked to hundreds of grad students at North Dakota State University. The researchers Adam Fetterman and Michael Robinson found that that the participants' answers revealed psychological characteristics.
They found that beliefs like "the head is thought to be rational and cold," and "the heart is thought to be emotional and warm," are helpful when trying to understand individual differences in cognition, emotion, and performance.
Head-locators were more accurate in answering general knowledge questions and had higher grade point averages.
Heart-locators were more likely to favor emotional over rational considerations in moral decision-making, and in addition, heart-locators experienced greater negative emotions in high stress situations.
How do you measure up? Are you a head or heart person?
Photo: New York Magazine
A recent study in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision reports that where people locate their sense of self has influence on their views on controversial medical issues, such as abortion and the determining criteria as to where a person should be declared deceased.
The researchers found that heart-locators of either sex were more likely to endorse proposals for stricter abortion laws based on the initial detection of a heartbeat in the fetus, and to endorse the idea that a person's death should be determined by when the heart stop beating rather than brain death.
Adam Galinsky, leader of the research team that surveyed hundreds of U.S. and Indian citizens, said, "We propose that a person's perception of where the sense of self is located is a crucial and defining trait similar to a person's personality profile."
If this is true, it opens up a whole new area of research. Where you locate our sense of self might influence your aptitude for different jobs, what kind of advertising works on you, and how you actually interpret other people.