This research was conducted by Catherine L. Bachleda and Asmae Bennani at Al Akhawayn University, Ifrane, Morocco.


Are all museum dwellers conscientious introverts? Is a penchant for painting a mark of neuroticism? This study aimed to investigate how personality traits impact an individual’s interest in the visual arts. Here ‘interest’ is defined as an active engagement in activities such as visiting art galleries and museums, reading art books and magazines, drawing and painting, or enrolling in a course of study on art. Overall, it found that an interest in the visual arts is associated with openness and sensation-seeking.

Openness is the personality trait most associated with an interest in the visual arts

210 respondents, randomly chosen from private sector firms across Morocco, completed an online survey of 75 questions. These covered: The Big Five personality traits (neuroticism, extraversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, openness and sensation seeking), interest in the visual arts and a number of socioeconomic factors. Results indicated that the more a person is open to varied and complex experiences, the more likely they will be interested in the visual arts. By contrast, the traits of neuroticism, extraversion, conscientiousness and agreeableness were not significantly associated with the visual arts.

Arts marketers should focus on personality traits when developing a segmentation strategy

The study suggests that understanding the personality traits of audiences may enable the development of more effective marketing strategies for visual arts organisations. It recommends employing emotional advertising and exhibiting art in innovative ways, such as curating exhibitions within artists' studios or organising street displays with artists in situ. Although the authors acknowledge the study’s limitations through its focus on urban regions, they highlight the value of understanding the relationship between personality and levels of arts interest.

This summary is by Alexandra Talbott, Projects Coordinator, Cultural Partnerships & Enquiry, King's College London

Title Personality and interest in the visual arts
Author(s) Bachleda, C. L, Bennani, A.
Publication date 2016
Source Arts and the Market, Vol 6, pp 126-140