Anna Antinori lead author of the study, explains that we’re constantly filtering out what sensory information to focus on. For example, you might well be subconsciously ignoring the noise around you or the feeling of a chair against your back. And this then determines what we perceive. “The ‘gate’ that lets through the information that reaches consciousness may have a different level of flexibility,” she says. “Open people appear to have a more flexible gate and let through more information than the average person.”
This isn’t the only study that connects personality with perception. As the researchers note in The Conversation, an earlier study shows that those who score high in openness are less likely to experience “inattentional blindness.”
Though the research suggests that personality affects the way we filter conscious experience, it’s not clear exactly how this process works. The authors speculate that overlapping neurochemicals in the brain may link perception to personality. “Thus the abundance of the same neurochemical, or lack thereof, may affect both one’s personality and low-level vision,” adds Antinori.