3.10 Fursona Personality

On several of our surveys, we’ve given participants a measure called the Ten-Item Personality Inventory.[tagcite tags=W12] It assesses five of the most well-studied, validated personality dimensions/traits in the psychological literature: extroversion (the extent to which a person is outgoing/energized by social activities), agreeableness (the extent to which a person seeks harmonious, non-confrontational interactions), conscientiousness (mindfulness, organization, planning), emotional stability (resistance to emotional outbursts and neurotic/pathological thoughts), and openness to experience (the extent to which a person favors and embraces new experiences). Participants are asked to rate both themselves and their fursonas on these items. We are then able to compare the personality traits of furries and their fursonas to one another, as well as with previously-established norms on each of these five traits (based on the responses of thousands of participants from other research). These data are presented in the table below.[tagcite tags=W12]

Personality Traits of Furries, Fursonas, and Established Norms

Trait Furries Fursonas

Established Norms

Extraversion 3.44 4.74 4.44
Agreeableness 4.89 5.36 5.23
Conscientiousness 4.73 4.93 5.40
Emotional Stability 4.55 5.17 4.83
Openness to Experience 5.43 5.09 5.38
Across all five traits, furries rated themselves significantly different from their fursonas, who were more extraverted, more agreeable, more conscientious, more emotionally stable, and less open to experience than they were. Counter-intuitively, with the exception of openness to experience, furries’ fursonas seem to have a “normalizing” effect: they are closer to established personality trait norms than furries themselves. This suggests the possibility that some furries use their fursona (and interacting with others through their fursonas) as a way to “improve” their personality by normalizing it, a finding consistent with other work suggesting that fursonas often represent idealized selves.[tagcite tags=3.12] These findings are a bit ironic, given the fantasy nature of fursonas and the stereotype that they are an indicator of dysfunction.[tagcite tags=10.1-10.2]

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