Monday, August 26, 2019

Tattoos and Personality

The latest social science:
Survey and experimental evidence documents discrimination against tattooed individuals in the labor market and in commercial transactions. Thus, individuals’ decision to get tattooed may reflect short-sighted time preferences. We show that, according to numerous measures, those with tattoos, especially visible ones, are more short-sighted and impulsive than the non-tattooed. Almost nothing mitigates these results, neither the motive for the tattoo, the time contemplated before getting tattooed nor the time elapsed since the last tattoo. Even the expressed intention to get a(nother) tattoo predicts increased short-sightedness and helps establish the direction of causality between tattoos and short-sightedness.
I can't see the rest of the paper because of the evil Elsevier paywall, but I wonder if the data have been corrected for age; after all tattoos are a lot more common among the young, and young people score as more short-sighted.

1 comment:

pootrsox said...

The first person I have known well to get a tattoo was a woman then approximately 65, who had a tiny flower (perhaps 1/2" in diameter) tattoo'd on her wrist, in memory of her husband. She later added a second small one (cannot remember where or when).

She was one of the least impulsive people I have ever known; she'd worked as an actuary for one of the major insurance companies, and when we decided to try a European river cruise together, she did all the research over a period of several months before we booked. (Sadly, several weeks after we'd booked a trip for late in the following year, she received a diagnosis of ALS. We cancelled the trip-- her husband had died of ALS and she knew what was coming.)

OTOH-- that second tattoo she was accompanied by a younger friend (50's) who *did* impulsively decide to get a 4" dolphin tattoo'd on her chest in memory of *her* late husband.

So it's not necessarily age producing if not wisdom at least deliberativeness :) But perhaps those who tend toward impulsiveness continue the trend, while those who don't, if they do get a tattoo, have spent time thinking it over?