Psychological Studies

, Volume 63, Issue 4, pp 384–390 | Cite as

Who Shake Their Legs and Bite Their Nails? Self-Reported Repetitive Behaviors and Big Five Personality Traits

  • Atsushi OshioEmail author
Research in Progress


Nail-biting and leg-shaking are two common repetitive behaviors with significant consequences for health and social standing. Despite their prevalence, significance, and known links to various psychological disorders such as Tourette spectrum, no previous research has examined their connection to personality traits. We examined the links between the Big Five personality traits and self-reported tendencies of leg-shaking and nail-biting in a sample of 5328 Japanese adults (2127 females), ranging in age from 18–71 years (mean 49.9). Individuals were assessed with the Ten-Item Personality Inventory and reported on their nail-biting and leg-shaking tendencies using a five-point Likert scale. Correlation and regression analyses revealed significant negative associations between both the tendencies and Agreeableness and Conscientiousness. Males reported engaging in the behaviors more than females and younger individuals more than older. Neuroticism was positively correlated with leg-shaking only in males. Introversion and low Agreeableness correlated with nail-biting in males, while Openness correlated with nail-biting in females. Discussion focuses on social norms that dictate inhibiting both behaviors.


Personality Big Five Leg-shaking Nail-biting Comprehensive habits 



The author is grateful to Samuel D. Gosling and Rebecca A. Zárate (RAZ) for helpful comments. This research was funded in part by JSPS KAKENHI, Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) No. 17K04376. The DSPJ project was conducted by Atsushi Oshio (Waseda University), Asako Miura (Kwansei Gakuin University), Yuki Ueno (JSPS Research Fellowship for Young Scientists, Waseda University), and Tetsuya (JSPS Research Fellowship for Young Scientists, Keio University). This project was supported by JPSP KAKENHI 25380893, Kwansei Gakuin University Joint Research Grant (B), JSPS KAKENHI 16J00972, and JSPS KAKENHI 16J07940. The project was approved by the Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) in Kwansei Gakuin University and Waseda University.


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Copyright information

© National Academy of Psychology (NAOP) India 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Letters, Arts, and SciencesWaseda UniversityTokyoJapan

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