Does your personality influence adaptation?

Looking in the mirror from time to time to evaluate how “things are going” is always a good idea. Taking personality tests online (on a regular basis because when you evolve so does your personality) can give your valuable insights in the way you live your life/want to live your life. Dialogue with the Dutch collects links to reliable standardised tests that might be valuable to you as well right here, and in this blog I would like to address the HEXACO test I took recently.


The HEXACO test links personality to six different dimensions: honesty-humility, emotionality, extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness.

More details about de dimensions and the characteristics behind each one of the dimensions can be found here.

The scientists behind the test, Kibeom Lee, Ph.D., & Michael C. Ashton, Ph.D. say: “…personality traits may moderate the extent to which people are affected by positive and negative life events, an idea referred to as a “person-environment interaction”. … This work suggests that individual differences in personality may account for the variability in reaction and adaptation to life events.”

As intercultural communication specialist this made me wonder, does your personality influence adaptation to intercultural communication, and if so, in which way? My own results show that my personality type is “Openness to Experience Domain” you can read about this is and the other types in the scale descriptions

The personality “openness” is linked to these four characteristics:

  • Aesthetic Appreciation this scale assesses one’s enjoyment of beauty in art and in nature.
  • Inquisitiveness scale assesses a tendency to seek information about, and experience with, the natural and human world. 
  • Creativity scale assesses one’s preference for innovation and experiment. 
  • Unconventionality scale assesses a tendency to accept the unusual.

What I notice in the explanations of the characteristics of the personality type “openness” made me think about the Bennett scale, or the “Development Model of Intercultural Sensitivity”. I have been using this scale in previous articles, most recently in my article on ethnocentrism & cultural relativism. These steps show an increasing sensitivity to difference. The steps denial, defense and minimization are considered ethnocentric. The steps acceptance, adaptation and integration are considered ethnorelative. What does this mean? In the first 3 stages a person views its own culture as central to reality. In the last 3 stages a person can relate to the frame of reference of “the other” culture.

In my case it is probably a form of “professional deformation”, but my believe is that people involved in intercultural communication tend to indeed be more open to differences. Whether this is related to art, nature, experience, innovation, communication or other aspects. This would imply that a wider frame of reference benefits not only your personal relations, but also your ability to evolve and grow as a person.

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