PhD Thesis - How does personality shape embodied social interaction?


Personality traits are relatively stable traits which encompass an individual’s thoughts, motivation, emotions, and cognition. There are many models that attempt to link personality to other variables such as gene expression, environment, and psychological processes. There are, however, few models that consider social interaction itself as a variable. To comprehensively investigate the influence of personality on social interaction, this thesis utilizes the concepts of theory of mind, social cognition, embodied cognition, and existential dimension. In the Enactivist Big-5 Theory (EB5T) framework personality traits are dispositional tendencies of how individuals understand and interact with the world. The Big Five traits are categorized under one of two higher-order traits (meta-traits) called Stability and Plasticity, which are adaptive strategies individuals can use to survive in a complex and changing environment. The aim of this thesis research is to explore the relationships between these personality meta-traits and minimal social interactions, in the form of characteristic behavioral patterns. Using the perceptual crossing experiment (PCE) paradigm, a human-computer interface setup designed for studying social contingency detection between individuals, this thesis examines potential correlations between an individual’s personality and their behaviors exhibited during minimal haptic interactions. This includes time series, movement, task performance, and qualitative analysis. By integrating these conceptual and empirical elements, this study seeks to shed light on how personality shapes our engagement with others in embodied social contexts.