What Do Your Small Preferences Say About Your Large Traits?

“Mustard or Ketchup?” This May be a Bigger Question Than You Thought

Personal Peculiarities

I have been developing a theory of human behavior and I am curious as to what you think. My theory is based on zero scientific process or any compelling logic, but it feels right to me.

Ever since I can remember, even as a very young child, I have preferred mustard over ketchup. Tart over sweet; savory over mild. I have always preferred ice cream with nuts or fruit in it rather than artificial colors or flavors. My preference is for odd numbers, not even. Although I enjoy both, I prefer instrumental music over song. I much prefer the mountains to the beach. I will take a forest over a meadow any day. As a rule, if I can spend time with another person or an animal, fur beats skin every time.

I love the early morning and late night; the middle of the day seems bland. As a pilot, I always enjoyed flying at night more than in daylight. I like to flip through an entire magazine first, then go back and read it in order. Toilet paper hangs, of course with the roll coming from the top, as any civilized person knows. I like a hot shower as much as the next person, but insist on finishing with a cold, bracing blast of water. I always put my left sock on first.

What Is the Meaning?

I bet you have a long list of such personal, seemingly petty, preferences, too. We all do. So here is my theory. I would bet that with the right knowledge base, one could look at a long list of such preferences in a person and estimate with great accuracy many of their personality traits and proclivities. I think it possible that there is a correlation, a pattern in such a list of preferences that could reveal much. One could likely predict political persuasion, temperament, ability to work with others (or not), creativity, and more.

It is possible that someone has done research on such a proposition, but I have yet to discover it. If it does not exist, it should. I feel sure the concept of such predictability would prove out.

We can engage on the theory in due course, as (and if) the science is there. In the meantime, what about you? Of the sort of things I mentioned, what are your preferences and peculiarities? What others do you have, now that you think about it?

In short, what makes us tick?

       Bill Clontz

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