Personality according to Peanuts

Some say there is nothing to be learned in the comics section of the newspaper.

dievca learned to READ via comic books.

OK, that’s BIG – but other BIG things can be gleaned from reading the comics.

What about Psychology? The BIG 5 personality traits?

Psychological researchers often define personality in terms of five core traits, which can be thought of as stable dispositions that drive behavior. The five-factor model of personality encompasses these basic traits:

The names of these factors convey their meaning. Neuroticism measures an individual’s emotional stability. Extraversion is how outgoing and sociable someone is, whereas Openness to experience conveys someone’s intellectual and experiential curiosity. Conscientiousness taps into one’s discipline, rule-orientation, and integrity. Agreeableness is about being good-natured.

 

Let’s learn about personalities from Peanuts:

Charlie Brown = Neuroticism

Charlie Brown is a model neurotic. He is prone to depression and anxiety and paralyzing fits of over-analysis. Constantly worrying if he is liked or respected, he has a perpetual, usually dormant crush on the little redheaded girl, taking small joys in her foibles that may make her more attainable. He is noted for his inability to fly a kite.

Snoopy = Extraversion

Snoopy is a typical extravert. Flamboyant, daring, and outgoing to a fault, he tries to join in every activity and conversation. He, perhaps, flies gallant missions against the Red Baron and then brags about his exploits. For reasons potentially stemming from his long-ago abandonment of his mother, he aggressively pursues friendship and food. Snoopy is ‘Joe Cool’, the life of the party.

 

Lucy = (Dis)agreeableness

Defined by a single word (crabby), Lucy revels in her disagreeableness. Typical portrayals of Lucy feature her bossing around her friends, dominating her little brother, mocking Charlie Brown’s self-consciousness, and generally being a pain in the neck. Her attempts at psychiatry generally involve misguided advice delivered loudly and angrily. One recurring interaction is Lucy pretending to hold a football out for Charlie Brown to kick, and then pulling it out at the last minute. Brown goes thump and Lucy preens.

Linus = Openness to experience

Linus is clearly the brightest of all of the Peanuts gang. Witty and knowledgeable, he is prone to passionate monologues. He has invented his own creation, the Great Pumpkin, and faithfully waits in the pumpkin patches for him every Halloween. Linus has his own idiosyncrasy, an ever-present blue security blanket — but he does not seem particularly sensitive about it. It’s who he is. Too young to actively try new things, he must instead use his intellect to mull over new and interesting ideas.

Schroeder = Conscientiousness

Charlie Brown, Linus, Snoopy, and even Lucy are fairly well-developed characters. Schroeder is equally lovable, but most casual readers know him for one thing: his piano playing. Yes, Lucy has a crush on him, but that’s about her — he will have none of it. He is always practicing. Disciplined and focused on his passion for classical music, one can imagine him setting his alarm clock for 7 a.m. on weekends to try Autumn Sonata one more time. His one other preferred activity is playing catcher for the baseball team — again, the sturdy, reliable director of the action on the field. Schroeder would offer to help you move and show up 10 minutes early.

 

A ‘Thank You’ to James C. Kaufman and Psychology Today



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