Art and Personality

If you like a party, you may prefer abstract paintings. The results of our online experiment into art preference and personality type suggest that extraverts prefer works by artists who don’t attempt to paint reality.

Art preference and personality type

We designed the experiment to look at whether people with different personality types like different forms of art. In previous studies researchers have found that:

  • People who prefer abstract art tend to be more conservative, dogmatic, and are often sensation seekers.
  • People who are open to new experiences are less likely to enjoy looking at realistic paintings. They seek something more atypical and challenging.
  • People with low emotional stability tend to prefer abstract and pop-art paintings.
  • People who score high in agreeableness like paintings and tend to dislike forms like pop-art.
  • People who like representational paintings may also be more conscientious than average.
    It’s less clear how extraversion ties in with painting preference. Some researchers have found that extraverts like modern art more than introverts, but others have found exactly the opposite pattern.

Overall, there has been a lot of research about personality and art preference. In many cases the jury is still out on exactly how personality affects preference. One of the aims of the experiment was to directly address some of the most controversial issues.

By Dr Stian Reimers
(Adapted from

Try and take the test!



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