[Pro-c Artist KWIC] knitting my | ASS | hairs together might be preferable Cantankerously HEXed: The trait of Agreeableness + Honest-Humility amongst visual artists [Big-C + Pro-c]

poster draft. results/conclusion needs rewritten. better inline citations required (or at least I think so)


[or in playground talk: whose my daddy (theoretical basis foreFATHER) + my daddy can your daddy’s ass]

low agreeableness of artists?

Psychometric and historiometric studies on personality suggest a link exists between low Agreeableness and significant creative achievement, when creativity is considered a bend or breach of a domain norm in a manner that is “original, useful, and surprising” and subsequently absorbed by that domain, modifying later understandings or practices (Feist, __; Simonton, 2016; __). Deviating from a set of norms, challenging convention, resisting social demands, possibly requires a degree of “arrogant and disagreeable” (Bender, Nibbelink, Towner-Thyrum, & Vredenburg, 2013). Even down right hostility has been considered as a factor in the matrix of individual differences assisting in the realization of scientific and artistic creative ideations (Barron, 1950; Feist, 1993; Batey & Furnham, 2006)).

Yet connections between creativity and low Agreeableness have also been shown to be suspect (Silvia, Kaufman, Reiter-Palmon, & Wiegert, 2011; __; ). Various recent research has uncovered a complicatedness suggestive that one might need to be dispositionally both agreeable and disagreeable for real world creative achievement ().

A limitation of many studies on creativity and personality are dependence on college students’ self-assessment measures secured for partial course credit from those enrolled in psychology courses (). This is true of the study, Cantankerous creativity: Honesty–Humility, Agreeableness, and the HEXACO structure of creative achievement, which found when using the six-factor HEXACO model of personality, creativity was statistically significant linked with low Humility-Honest and with a near zero relationship with low Agreeableness (Silvia, Kaufman, Reiter-Palmon, & Wiegert, 2011).

As a result of the various limitations attributed to sample population and self-assessment, as well as the conflicting data between studies, Silvia proposed that future investigations would benefit from employing alternative methods of assessment.

artists + low agreeableness

Janine Antoni [Mortar & Pestle, 1999], Ana Mendieta [Untitled (Glass on Body Imprints — Face), 1972], Ai Wei Wei [untitled, 2016], Pipilotti Rist [Open My Glade, 2000]. Hmmmm. Despite numbers I am pretty sure visual artists are likely to have a degree of low agreeableness. This does not mean they aren’t likable. 

The present project seeks to explore the personality traits of Agreeableness/Honesty-Humility within two sets of visual artist populations, the eminent and the professional, through computational psycholinguistic analysis via the tool of Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC2015) of artists’ preexisting, largely self-relevant narratives.


High Agreeableness is pro-social affiliative behavioral patterns that orient with others and a tendency to avoid conflict. Facets positively correlated with Agreeableness are: kindness, sympathy, warmth, cooperation, compliance, modesty, trustworthiness, fairness. Negative correlations include: unkindness, unsympathetic, cold/harsh, quarrelsome, aggressive, arrogant, dishonesty, inconsiderate (Thompson, 2008).

this data causes me fucking pleasure

Drawing from six studies* linking the Five-Factor model of personality with LIWC2001-2007 [see references], statistically relevant LIWC categories predictive of high and low Agreeableness are: Swearing, Anger, NegEmo, Death, Sexual, Personal Pronouns, Family, Home, PosEmo, Emotional Tone. 

  • Holtgraves, T. (2011). Text messaging, personality, and the social context. Journal of Research in Personality, 45(1), 92-99.
  • Kern, M. L., Eichstaedt, J. C., Schwartz, H. A., Dziurzynski, L., Ungar, L. H., Stillwell, D. J., … Seligman, M. E. (2013). The Online Social Self: An Open Vocabulary Approach to Personality. Assessment, 21(2), 158-169.
  • Mehl, M. R., Gosling, S. D., & Pennebaker, J. W. (2006, May). Personality in its natural habitat: Manifestations and implicit folk theories of personality in daily life.
  • Schwartz, H. A., Eichstaedt, J. C., Kern, M. L., Dziurzynski, L., Ramones, S. M., Agrawal, M., … Ungar, L. H. (2013). Personality, Gender, and Age in the Language of Social Media: The Open-Vocabulary Approach. PLoS ONE, 8(9).
  • Sumner, C., Byers, A., Boochever, R., & Park, G. J. (2012). Predicting Dark Triad Personality Traits from Twitter Usage and a Linguistic Analysis of Tweets. 2012 11th International Conference on Machine Learning and Applications.
  • Yarkoni, T. (2010). Personality in 100,000 Words: A large-scale analysis of personality and word use among bloggers. Journal of Research in Personality, 44(3), 363-373.

writings of Big-C + Pro-c visual artists

An operative model of creativity parses it into four categories based on breadth of real world impact—Big-C, Pro-c, little-c, mini-c (Kaufmann & Beghetto, 2006). This study considers two of these categories. The first group are the writings of eminent artists [Big-C] whose innovative practices or propositions have notably shifted particular paradigms. These artists were selected based inclusion in Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists’ Writings (Stiles & Selz, 2012), Art in Theory 1900 – 2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas  (Harrison & Wood, 2002), After Modern Art 1945-2000 (Hopkins, 2000), and/or Themes of Contemporary Art: Visual Art after 1980 (Robertson & McDaniels, 2016). The selection was culled down based on essays readily available online in digital format. A sampling of artists included in this group are Eva Hesse, Louise Bourgeois, Donald Judd, and Mike Kelley.

The second set of writings were produced by artists, active in the Houston art scene, who have published at least 4 essays on the Texas online art magazine Glasstire.com. These artists represent the Pro-c class and practice professionally. These artists are regularly selected for juried residencies, biennials, museum exhibitions. Many are professors of art with graduate degrees from Yale, Cal Arts, Chicago Institute of Art, amongst others. Forty-nine of the 63 artists hold graduate degrees. Though masters in the field none are as of yet noted as shifting particular paradigms within the artworld. A sampling of artists included are Mark Flood, Robert Pruitt, Sasha Dali, and Bill Davenport.

Artist Authors
Eminent Artists    (Big-C) Professional Artists (Pro-c)
SOURCE Contemporary Art Historical Anthologies Texts Online Texas/Houston
Art Magazine. Glasstire.com
Total Authors 137 63
Total Essays 215 1,260
GENDER Females 44% 35%
Males 56% 65%
EDUCATION Bachelors 23%
MFA/PhD 77%

artists + low agreeableness

IN process of being rewritten.

Tania Bruguera [Burden of Guilt, 1997], Rona Pondick [Little Bathers, 1991-2] , Lauren Kelley [Bubble, 1999], Vito Acconci [Trademark, 1979]

This project is part of an ongoing exploration of hunting for the function that writing plays for the creative, visual artists. I in fact hypothesize that artists acts of writing, narrative construction and cohesion, traces of reappraisal and value affirmation mirror James Pennebakers expressive writing manipulations (and derivative studies) outcomes for those who have positive outcomes. Meaning that artists are inherently using expressive and critical writing to up and down regulate affect, cognitive attention, psychopathological disruptions, historical ramifications of developmental adversity. Why are so many artists who are known for bending convention writing? There are surface and vocational explanations, but that so many naturally gravitate to writing suggest there is more going on [ie Whistler wrote almost 13,000 letters in his life time; Van Gogh likewise, etc. tip of the iceberg].

This subproject is an initial foray into learning R. Shame I haven’t already had statistics. The lack is slowing me down. I slated it for this fall hoping armageddon would occur first. Alas it did not.


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