To fear or fly to the unknown: Tolerance for ambiguity and Big Five personality traits

February 18, 2019

The present study investigated whether ambiguity tolerance relates to personality traits that are theoretically grounded in fear (neuroticism) or attraction (openness to experience; extraversion) for the unknown. Our hypotheses were supported for self-report measures (and openness to experience predicted ambiguity tolerance controlling for intelligence), but behavioral choice measures of ambiguity tolerance demonstrated poor reliability and were unrelated to self-reported ambiguity tolerance and basic personality traits. An exploratory network analysis revealed that ambiguity tolerance was more strongly related to the intellectual curiosity (vs. aesthetic appreciation) facet of openness to experience, and the assertiveness (vs. energy or sociability) facet of extraversion. Our findings reinforce the fragmented literature in this area, and support predictions derived from psychological entropy theories of personality.


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