Personality Is Overt

If the human mind is split to parts that manage overt appearances, and parts that manage covert strategies, which parts do you think more control our personalities? Yup, personalities are closer to overt appearances:

By using composite images rendered from three dimensional (3D) scans of women scoring high and low on health and personality dimensions, we aimed to examine the separate contributions of facial shape, skin texture and viewing angle to the detection of these traits, while controlling for crucial posture variables. After controlling for such cues, participants were able to identify Agreeableness, Neuroticism, and Physical Health. … Information allowing accurate personality identification is largely lateralized to the right side of the face. (more)

Chimpanzees, other primates, and humans produce asymmetrical facial expressions with greater [emotional] expression on the left side of the face (right hemisphere of the brain). (more)

In most animals, left brains tend to manage and initiate actions within the current mode, while right brains watch in the background for patterns and reasons to veto current actions and switch modes. In humans, it seems the current-action-sequencer brain half was recruited to focus more on managing overt rule-following language, decisions, and actions, ready to explain away any apparent rule-violations. The less-introspectively-accessible pattern-recognizing background-watcher brain half, in contrast, was apparently recruited to focus on harder-to-testify-on-and-so-more-easily-covert meaning, opinion, and communication, including art and music. (more)

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  • Left is overt; right is covert. Overt is near; covert is far. So, left is near; right is far.

    But near is concrete; far is abstract. The right hemisphere engages in concrete, spatial perception, whereas the left hemisphere in abstract, propositional reasoning. So, right is near; left is far.

    • Khoth

      Near-far is great like that. You can come up with arguments to make just about anything seem either near or far, depending on what you want it to be today.

    • I never said overt is near, and this post says nothing about near-far.

      • Douglas Knight

        If anything, you usually say that near is covert.

      • The question is whether construal level theory implies this alignment. You wrote, “If the human mind is split to parts that manage overt appearances, and parts that manage covert strategies.”

        Appearances are near and strategies are far (certainly): strategies are both more abstract and more future-oriented than appearances.

      • mjgeddes

        No, it’s pretty clear that ‘overt’ is near.

        Covert is concerned with appearances/social reality/communication I(Gryffindor, Hufflepuff), so it’s far.

        Overt is concerned with plotting and getting tasks done (Slytherin/Ravenclaw) so it’s near.

        Just stick to ‘Harry Potter’ to work all this stuff out and you won’t go wrong 😉

      • mjgeddes

        Oops. It’s actually the other way around to what I said above. You’re quite right Douglas, sorry Stephen.

        You can indeed match up construal theory to what Robin is saying, but basically:


        (just switch my references to ‘covert’ and ‘overt’ in my above post).

  • jonas

    Would you describe the emergence of higher order thinking through simultanization of left and right hemisphere functions? Like a parallel coupling of brain functions with emergent qualia over time and in time.

  • Adam

    The core is the core is the core.