Studies into art preferences reveal that the artwork people are attracted to can give insight into our personality. A person’s interest in art is strongly correlated to certain personality traits more than to social class, age, or gender. Widely accepted personality theory the Big Five comprises personality traits that hail from art preference research, as Discover magazine details:
The model asserts that each personality is comprised of a combination of five core traits: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism (known by the acronym OCEAN). Rather than lumping a person into binary categories like introvert or extrovert, the Big Five Model asserts that each trait is a spectrum, and everyone lies somewhere between the two extremes.
Each of these Big Five traits is informed by a host of facets that further describe someone’s personality. For instance, those who exhibit a high level of openness tend to be curious, independent, and imaginative, while those who are more conscientious are often organized, thoughtful and goal-oriented. In addition to art preferences, the Big Five Model is used to predict other human behaviors, like health consciousness, marital satisfaction and job performance.
Not only do personality traits predict whether you might like art in general, but they can also predict the style of artwork you're attracted to. A study in 1973 found that complexity in art was the primary distinction in how different personalities choose their favorite artwork: open personalities are partial to more complex paintings while conservative personalities like more straightforward, traditional pieces.
Image via Discover Magazine