Friday, February 09, 2018

How to Increase Conscientiousness

What you can do to increase conscientiousness

Some people have the good fortune to have conscientious personalities. Many of us have to work at it. Here are a few suggestions:
Focus on specifics. Resolving to be more conscientious probably won't get you very far. But if you set your mind on being punctual or organizing your desk, you might have more success.
Make daily plans—and work on sticking to them. Setting your own schedule and then following through on it encourages organization and self-discipline.
Use reminders. If you're not naturally conscientious, it can be easy to stray off course. Computers and smartphones have reminder tools.
Stay social. Conscientiousness is fundamentally social, so staying in touch with family and having friends can encourage conscientious behaviors like being on time and expressing gratitude.

(General summary from Harvard Health article.)

Perceived accountability helps low conscientiousness people perform.
Perceived accountability:

Accountability is defined as “the perceived need to justify or defend a decision or action to some audience(s) which has potential reward and sanction power, where such rewards and sanctions are perceived as contingent on accountability conditions” (Frink and Klimoski, 1998, p. 9). Individuals feel accountable if they have an expectation to be judged for achieving a particular goal and to be rewarded for achieving that goal. In an organization, supervisors and coworkers may dictate the norms of productivity and learning as well as the acceptance of certain accountability levels, therefore influencing an individual’s perceived accountability in a training context. Moreover, accountability becomes a necessary social control in which standards are established to judge an individual’s performance accordingly and rewards/punishments are issued based on the evaluation (Schlenker et al., 1994). For instance, participants in training may be rewarded for learning a new technical skill or may be punished (or terminated) if a certain skill is not learned. Without these standards in organizations, individuals may not perform as efficiently and effectively as needed; thus, an individual’s perception of these accountability standards may relate to learning a new skill.

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Verbal encouragement is effective on low conscientiousness people, but not on high conscientiousness people.
"In the entire cohort, there was no significant difference in MVCs with and without verbal encouragement. When the sample was partitioned by conscientiousness scores, verbal encouragement led to a significant increase in MVC in the low-conscientiousness group, whereas verbal encouragement led to a non-significant decrease in MVC in the high-conscientiousness group." )

Conscientious people live longer:

"...after controlling for age at the time of assessment, sex, education, and ethnicity. Partial correlations indicate that individuals with higher scores on General Activity (r = .07; p < .05), Emotional Stability (r = .08; p < .05), Personal Relations (r = .08; p < .05), and Conscientiousness (r = .08; p < .05) lived longer."
DOI: 10.1097/PSY.0b013e31817b9371 )


Conscientiousness decreases complaints in medical treatments:
"...complaint severity rating, our primary outcome, was negatively associated with the personality measures of conscientiousness (β = −0.31 SE 0.11, = 0.003) and agreeableness (β = −0.38 SE 0.12, = 0.002) and was positively associated with neuroticism (β = 0.24 SE 0.09, = 0.005) and anxiety."
Brain and Behavior, 2015; 5(1), e00294, doi: 10.1002/brb3.294 )


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