There are a number of different models of personality in the psychological literature, but one of the most frequently cited is the “Big 5” model of personality, which proposes that there are five major dimensions along which people’s personality differ: (a) Extraversion: the tendency to be energized by and seek out the presence of others, (b) Agreeableness: being of friendly, cooperative, and social nature, (c) Conscientiousness: the extent to which one is organized and mindful of goals, (d) Emotional Stability (inversely known as neuroticism): confidence and resilience, lack of susceptibility to negative emotions, (e) Openness to Experience: A curiosity or interest in what is unconventional, or a desire to see, taste, hear and immerse oneself in a variety of sensations and situations.
We assessed each of these items in furries and in members of different fandoms (e.g., con-going and online anime fans, fantasy sport fans) using a small, 10-item personality scale.1 For each item, we tested whether identifying as a furry predicted higher scores on that trait,2 and whether furries, as a group scored higher than members of other fandoms on that trait.3 Results are displayed below, with different colored bars representing significant differences between the groups. In general, however, furries’ scores were comparable to those of the other fan groups.
The more strongly a person identified as a furry, the higher their extraversion score was.
The more strongly a person identified as a furry, the less agreeable they tended to be.
How strongly a person identified with being a furry was unrelated to their levels of conscientiousness.
How strongly a person identified with being a furry was unrelated to their levels of emotional stability.
Openness to Experience
The more strongly a person identified as a furry, the more open to experiences they tended to be.
Of course, each of these five personality factors consists of many different sub-factors, and they do not capture the entirety of individual differences between people.4 In future studies, we would like to look at sub-factors within these five facets of personality—as well as others—to see if we can more specifically describe the personality of members of the furry community and the ways in which they are similar to, and differ from, members of other fandoms.