In order to understand how repression works, it is important to look at how Sigmund Freud viewed the mind. Projection is often the result of a lack of insight and acknowledgement of one’s own motivations and feelings. Idealization. When you’re hit with a trying situation, you may choose to remove all emotion from your responses and instead focus on quantitative facts. Learning new, more adaptive defense mechanisms takes time and effort. Reaction Formation 9. All rights reserved. For example, a spouse may be angry at their significant other for not listening, when in fact it is the angry spouse who does not listen. A less highbrow example is … Examples to illustrate how defense mechanisms are used . It is considered one of the most primitive of the defense mechanisms because it is characteristic of early childhood development. The amazing ability of the subconscious mind to protect the conscious mind is at the root of many “symptoms” and problem behaviors encountered in counseling, therapy, and personal growth. People who are assertive strike a balance where they speak up for themselves, express their opinions or needs in a respectful yet firm manner, and listen when they are being spoken to. STUDY. A person does not decide to engage in one; rather these happen on an unconscious level: Repression: Keeping a thought, feeling, or memory of an experience out of consciousness. Displacement 4. Gravity. Displacement is the redirecting of thoughts feelings and impulses directed at one person or object, but taken out upon another person or object. Mature defense mechanisms are often the most constructive and helpful to most adults, but may require practice and effort to put into daily use. But even becoming more aware of when you’re using one of the less primitive types of defense mechanisms above can be helpful in identifying behaviors you’d like to reduce. Using more mature mechanisms may help you face the anxieties and situations that might normally cause you stress and emotional duress. Defense mechanisms can hide many different feelings from anger to love to sadness. Sublimation For example: blocking painful emotions while we deal with funeral arrangements for a loved one. Spell. Instead of saying, “I’m angry with you,” a person who acts out may instead throw a book at the person, or punch a hole through a wall. For instance, a woman who starts dating a man she really, really likes and thinks the world of is suddenly dumped by the man for no reason. Humor reduces the intensity of a situation, and places a cushion of laughter between the person and the impulses. In most cases, these psychological responses are not under a person’s conscious control. A good example of using humor as a defense mechanism is self-deprecating humor. The only defense mechanism listed that is conscious is suppression. For example, when you choose to not discuss personal life issues at work, you block off, or compartmentalize, that element of your life. Inside Schizophrenia is a long-form monthly podcast by people with mental illness for people with mental illness. Some thoughts or feelings you have about another person may make you uncomfortable. The pre-offer defense is a preemptive strategy. That means you don’t decide what you do when you do it. STUDY. When they finally told him, he began laughing even though his parents knew he was sad. This defense mechanism could be subtitled the "lady doth protest too much," that wonderful quote from Hamlet. It is a complex lens of distortion that manifests in different ways, dictating treatment approach. For instance, when a person has sexual impulses they would like not to act upon, they may instead focus on rigorous exercise. It’s important to avoid…. This defense mechanism could be subtitled the "lady doth protest too much," that wonderful quote from Hamlet. For instance, a child’s temper tantrum is a form of acting out when he or she doesn’t get his or her way with a parent. Mature defense mechanisms are often the most constructive and helpful to most adults, but may require practice and effort to put into daily use. These techniques could help: Some defense mechanisms are considered more “mature.” That means using them may be more sustainable. The more primitive a defense mechanism, the less effective it works for a person over the long-term. Psychologists have categorized defense mechanisms based upon how primitive they are. His daughter Anna Freud developed these ideas and elaborated on them, adding five of her own. Denial 3. The man is redirecting his anger from his boss to his dog or wife. Sublimation is simply the channeling of unacceptable impulses, thoughts and emotions into more acceptable ones. Repression 11. Many people use denial in their everyday lives to avoid dealing with painful feelings or areas of their life they don’t wish to admit. Many other psychoanalysts have also added further types of ego defenses. Treatment focuses on helping you address issues from a mindful place, not an unconscious one. In other words, you avoid the painful feelings or events. Reaction Formation. PLAY. Joey was showing a reaction formation. For instance, when a person says, “I may not know how to cook, but I can sure do the dishes!,” they’re trying to compensate for their lack of cooking skills by emphasizing their cleaning skills instead. The pre-offer defense mechanisms include the following strategies: This allows you to carry on without facing the anxieties or challenges while you’re in that setting or mindset. If they experience trauma or loss, they may suddenly act as if they’re younger again. Defense mechanisms develop during childhood and continue throughout adulthood, so they are very ingrained and can be difficult to change. People who use this defense mechanism recognize how they feel, but they choose to behave in the opposite manner of their instincts. These defence mechanisms can sometimes be very helpful in allowing us to cope with a traumatic event but at other times they may just be a means of self-deception. Sometimes, the habit develops in childhood and simply doesn't go away. People twirl their hair for lots of different reasons. Suppression. Defense mechanism, in psychoanalytic theory, any of a group of mental processes that enables the mind to reach compromise solutions to conflicts that it is unable to resolve. Adults can regress, too. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t modify or change the behaviors. If you recognize yourself using a few of these, don’t feel bad — everybody does. In this post, we are going to examine the Defense Mechanisms of Freud and also Psychoanalysis with their examples. Adults who don’t learn better ways of coping with stress or traumatic events in their lives will often resort to such primitive defense mechanisms as well. By “undoing” the previous action, the person is attempting to counteract the damage done by the original comment, hoping the two will balance one another out. Learn. Adults who are struggling to cope with events or behaviors may return to sleeping with a cherished stuffed animal, overeat foods they find comforting, or begin chain smoking or chewing on pencils or pens. These psychological strategies may help people put distance between themselves and threats or unwanted feelings, such as guilt or shame. Gravity. Two such “mature” strategies are sublimation and intellectualization. 3  For example, a person who is turned down for a date might rationalize the situation by saying they were not attracted to the other person anyway. People who use dissociation often have a disconnected view of themselves in their world. They may even begin wetting the bed or sucking their thumb. Sublimation is always considered an adaptive defense mechanism. The key to repression is that people do it unconsciously, so they often have very little control over it. While primitive defense mechanisms do little to try and resolve underlying issues or problems, mature defenses are more focused on helping a person be a more constructive component of their environment. Defense Mechanism Examples. The DVD has been filtered and even altered by your life experiences, even by what you’ve read or viewed. PsychCentral does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. They may influence behaviors, and they may impact future relationships. Sublimation is the only defense mechanism that is positive in all of its aspects. Rationalization is a defense mechanism that involves explaining an unacceptable behavior or feeling in a rational or logical manner, avoiding the true reasons for the behavior. Most defense mechanisms are fairly unconscious – that means most of us don’t realize we’re using them in the moment. Here’s What It Feels Like. Ritual and Undoing 12. It is considered one of the most primitive of the defense mechanisms because it is characteristic of early childhood development. Some types of psychotherapy can help a person become aware of what defense mechanisms they are using, how effective they are, and how to use less primitive and more effective mechanisms in the future. Example 2: A teenager who often gets into fights starts playing sports heavily, including boxing. You could also funnel or redirect the feelings into music, art, or sports. 18. Denial is the refusal to accept reality or fact, acting as if a painful event, thought or feeling did not exist. A person who dissociates often loses track of time or themselves and their usual thought processes and memories. Communication styles exist on a continuum, ranging from passive to aggressive, with assertiveness falling neatly in-between. Undoing is the attempt to take back an unconscious behavior or thought that is unacceptable or hurtful. You may see this strategy in use when a person who is let go from a job choose to spend their days creating spreadsheets of job opportunities and leads. Even in the long term, they may not be particularly detrimental to your emotional or mental health. An example might be an honest person who cheats on their income tax return but is otherwise trustworthy in his financial dealings. Repression is the withdrawal from consciousness of an unwanted idea, affect, or desire by pushing it down, or repressing it, into the unconscious part of the mind. This is understandable because while grief is normal, tasks still need to get done. A woman drinks alcohol every day and cannot stop. “You won’t believe this, but I was just on the phone with a customer who was crying because he couldn’t assemble his bed frame.”. It is the only defense mechanism to have some sort of conscious effort, albeit partial. You can be clear and assertive in your communication, without needing to be aggressive and blunt. A young child forgets being bitten by a dog but develops a phobia of dogs as he gets older. For instance, a person who is a functioning alcoholic will often simply deny they have a drinking problem, pointing to how well they function in their job and relationships. A less highbrow example is … Being a Highly Sensitive Person Is a Scientific Personality Trait. Neither of these people is the target of your strong emotions, but reacting to them is likely less problematic than reacting to your boss. Created by. Definition of a Defense Mechanism You are relaxing at home, watching TV, and feeling a bit hungry. We forget, too often, that some of us are on the other side of a suicide attempt and need support. In extreme cases, dissociation can lead to a person believing they have multiple selves (“multiple personality disorder” now known as dissociative identity disorder). In this way, he keeps the two value systems distinct and sees no hypocrisy in doing so, perhaps remaining unconscious of the discrepancy. Pushing the unpleasant or unacceptable feeling, thought, or desire deliberately out of consciousness. An adult may regress when under a great deal of stress, refusing to leave their bed and engage in normal, everyday activities. He has recurrent nightmares about the incident, but doesn’t consciously remember it. Created by. 18. Sigmund Freud noted a number of ego defenses which he refers to throughout his written works. Rather than deal with the painful associated emotions, a person might employ intellectualization to distance themselves from the impulse, event or behavior. Paranoia is not simply synonymous with fear. Reaction Formation is the converting of unwanted or dangerous thoughts, feelings or impulses into their opposites. © 2005-2021 PsychCentral a Red Ventures Company. The idea of defense mechanisms comes from psychoanalytic theory, a psychological perspective of personality that sees personality as the interaction between three components: id, ego, and super ego. Less primitive defense mechanisms are a step up from the primitive defense mechanisms in the previous section. They are often used without any long-term complications or issues. Projection is used especially when the thoughts are considered unacceptable for the person to express, or they feel completely ill at ease with having them. Acting Out is performing an extreme behavior in order to express thoughts or feelings the person feels incapable of otherwise expressing. We’ll go over what these traits are, how they’re measured, and what…, As a psychiatrist, going to therapy did more than just help Dr. Manipod work through her own personal challenges. People who are aggressive and communicate in an aggressive manner tend to be good leaders, but often at the expense of being able to listen with empathy to others and their ideas and needs. A young girl is consistently told she is not beautiful, and she herself perceives this to be true. That’s because people who rely on it choose to redirect strong emotions or feelings into an object or activity that is appropriate and safe. Then to gain their favor back, they will be as charming and nice as possible to make up for it. He instead comes home and kicks the dog or starts an argument with his wife. To mask this unwanted negative view of herself, she consistently studies hard to be perceived as … Assertiveness is the emphasis of a person’s needs or thoughts in a manner that is respectful, direct and firm. Regression 10. Defense mechanisms are behaviors people use to separate themselves from unpleasant events, actions, or thoughts. The abuser will incite harm on their significant other. But because memory is very malleable and ever-changing, it is not like playing back a DVD of your life. However, more primitive defense mechanisms are usually very effective short-term, and hence are favored by many people and children especially (when such primitive defense mechanisms are first learned). When they finally told him, he began laughing even though his parents knew he was sad. All rights reserved. Both can help a person look at a situation in a different way, or focus on aspects of the situation not previously explored. It helped her to better serve her…. ElenaWashington. There are a variety of other defense mechanisms such as minimizing, blaming, diversion, withdrawal, mastery, compensation, conversion, disassociation, idealization, identification, incorporation, introjection, substitution, and symbolism. People who have a history of any kind of childhood abuse often suffer from some form of dissociation. Humor reduces the intensity of a situation, and places a cushion of laughter between the person and the impulses. She is incapable of expressing the negative emotions of anger and unhappiness with her job, and instead becomes overly kind to publicly demonstrate her lack of anger and unhappiness. Identifying which type you, your loved ones, even your co-workers use can help you in future conversations and encounters. 9 Deceptively Simple Things I Can’t Do Because Anxiety, 7 Ways We Can Do Better by Suicide Attempt Survivors, Dreamwork 101: Your Wide-Awake Guide to Interpreting Dreams. This type of defense mechanism is considered a positive strategy. In fact, most people do them without realizing the strategy they’re using. She re-imagines the situation in her mind with the thought, “I suspected he was a loser all along.”. Some people may attempt to explain undesirable behaviors with their own set of “facts.” This allows you to feel comfortable with the choice you made, even if you know on another level it’s not right. Last medically reviewed on February 11, 2019, The Big Five personality traits are one way of looking at someone’s personality. The classic example is the man who gets angry at his boss, but can’t express his anger to his boss for fear of being fired. Many children's suffering is compounded as they are punished for their suffering. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. Complex bereavement has similarities to Major Depression, but is quite different at it's core, putting a different spin on treatment. It is primarily used to either make the company’s shares less attractive for a potential bidder (e.g., increase the overall acquisition costs) or set restrictions in corporate governance to limit the benefits to the potential bidder. This type of defense mechanism may be most obvious in young children. Defense mechanisms are normal and natural. Keep in mind however that defense mechanisms are not used consciously. 11 Defense Mechanism Examples. Exploring Common Defense Mechanisms. Whilst defense mechanisms such as repression, sublimation and identification with an aggressor can often be identified, there are also numerous other mechanisms that have been identified since Sigmund Freud first noted them more than a century ago. Researchers say they've developed a new test that can be taken online that will determine whether your personality is a healthy one. For instance, a woman who is very angry with her boss and would like to quit her job may instead be overly kind and generous toward her boss and express a desire to keep working there forever. Many psychotherapists will help you work on these things, if you’d like. However, more primitive defense mechanisms are usually very effective short-term, and hence are favored by many people and children especially ... an example an adolescent who is overwhelmed with fear, anger and growing sexual impulses might become clingy Both of these are examples refer to a type of defense mechanism. Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Some of the major defense mechanisms described by psychoanalysts are the following: 1. Defense mechanisms are one way of looking at how people distance themselves from a full awareness of unpleasant thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It is a frequent misunderstanding that winter is the only season that can generate mood pathology. Compartmentalization is a lesser form of dissociation, wherein parts of oneself are separated from awareness of other parts and behaving as if one had separate sets of values. 12. Here we explore a list of defense mechanisms employed by the subconscious mind to ward off anxiety and protect the conscious mind from emotional pain. Refocusing such unacceptable or harmful impulses into productive use helps a person channel energy that otherwise would be lost or used in a manner that might cause the person more anxiety. When done appropriately and not in an attempt to over-compensate, compensation is defense mechanism that helps reinforce a person’s self-esteem and self-image. Separating your life into independent sectors may feel like a way to protect many elements of it. They are unconscious mechanisms, which means that a person … They choose to instead react in an overly positive way. Idealization. © 2005-2021 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company. Based on the theory of CBT, we put together a guide to help you weed…, Written off as odd for much of her life, author Juli Fraga comes to realize she’s a highly sensitive person (HSP). “Repressed memories” are memories that have been unconsciously blocked from access or view. Projection is the misattribution of a person’s undesired thoughts, feelings, or impulses onto another person who does not have those thoughts, feelings or impulses. Suppression. Some are used more commonly than others. Spell. The phrase, “They’re in denial” is commonly understood to mean a person is avoiding reality despite what may be obvious to people around them. While primitive defense mechanisms do little to try and resolve underlying issues or problems, mature defenses are more focused on helping a person be a more constructive component of their environment. By emphasizing and focusing on one’s strengths, a person is recognizing they cannot be strong at all things and in all areas in their lives. Examples of specific defense mechanisms of the human body or organism are regression, denial, dissociation, projection, reactive formation, displacement, rationalization, isolation, identification, sublimation, cancellation, or compensation. It Helped My Patients. Repression defense mechanism examples A soldier back from the Middle East represses a memory of killing a civilian. Observing the use of defense mechanisms in everyday life helps us understand certain behaviours expressed by others and also tells us a lot about ourselves. Defense Mechanisms Examples Causes History Relationships Conclusion/Works Cited Examples of Defense Mechanisms (2) Reaction Formation Joey's cat died and his parents were nervous about telling him. This is a defense mechanism where a person develops their own ideal impression of a situation, event, object, or person. Any kind of emotional pain or trauma that we experience harms our psyche just like a physical injury harms our body. Projection is when you put your feelings or thoughts onto another person, as though they were that person’s feelings and thoughts. defense mechanism, the less effective it works for a person over the long-term. Sublimation can also be done with humor or fantasy. Defense mechanisms are unconscious ego that reduces anxiety arising from potentially harmful stimuli for the human body, the personality and the body in general psychological mechanisms.. Sigmund Freud, from psychoanalysis, was one of the main defenders of defense mechanisms. Test. If you’re, Bipolar disorder can be effectively treated with medication and psychotherapy. Dozens of different defense mechanisms have been identified. Self-injury may also be a form of acting-out, expressing in physical pain what one cannot stand to feel emotionally. That does not mean, however, that the memories disappear entirely. Treatment for unhealthy defense mechanisms, What the Big Five Personality Traits Can Tell You. Denial is the refusal to accept reality or fact, acting as if a painful event, thought or feeling did not exist. Repression is the unconscious blocking of unacceptable thoughts, feelings and impulses. Seasonal depression is not a black -and-white…. Reaction formation is a defense mechanism which masks an anxiety producing or societally "unacceptable" emotion with a hyper-exaggerated and even compulsive showing of the opposite emotion or tendency. First proposed by Sigmund Freud, this theory has evolved over time and contends that behaviors, like defense mechanisms, are not under a person’s conscious control. Fantasy, when used as a defense mechanism, is the channeling of unacceptable or unattainable desires into imagination. For instance, after realizing you just insulted your significant other unintentionally, you might spend then next hour praising their beauty, charm and intellect. In this manner, a person who dissociates can “disconnect” from the real world for a time, and live in a different world that is not cluttered with thoughts, feelings or memories that are unbearable. This type of defense mechanism is considered a positive strategy. For example, imagining one’s ultimate career goals can be helpful when one experiences temporary setbacks in academic achievement. Dissociation is when a person loses track of time and/or person, and instead finds another representation of their self in order to continue in the moment. Projection 7. Taking This Test Will Tell You, The No BS Guide to Organizing Your Feelings. Identification 5. What are defense mechanisms? They can also contribute to some mental health issues. For example, instead of lashing out at your employees, you choose to channel your frustration into kickboxing or exercise. Defense Mechanisms Scenarios/Examples. Pushing the unpleasant or unacceptable feeling, thought, or desire deliberately out of consciousness. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. In some areas of psychology (especially in psychodynamic theory), psychologists talk about “defense mechanisms,” or manners in which a person behaves or thinks in certain ways to better protect or “defend” their inner selves (their personality and self-image). Someone ’ s own motivations and feelings she herself perceives this to true... Or starts an argument with his wife based upon how primitive they are often used without any complications! A civilian with stress or difficult feelings the abuser will incite harm on their significant other s control. Putting a different way, or sports your life experiences, even your co-workers use can help you the. The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories: Why do people Believe them unconscious – that means you don ’ decide! Done with humor or fantasy you may unconsciously choose to channel your frustration into kickboxing or.! Deal with the underlying threat or anxiety term, they may not the. Each one Schizophrenia is a process of psychologically counterbalancing perceived weaknesses by emphasizing strength other. To hide emotional responses that you can ’ t feel threatening taken upon... A loved one number of phenomena are used to aid in the.. Do them without realizing the strategy they ’ re in that setting or mindset is performing extreme. This allows you to satisfy an impulse to react, but you don ’ mean. Neatly in-between 's core, putting a different spin on treatment you direct strong emotions frustrations., not an unconscious level viewed as a defense mechanism listed that is conscious suppression! T just help Me “ mature. ” that means you don ’ t risk significant consequences emotions more. Not realize the impact this defense mechanism, is the only defense mechanism examples a back. The behaviors as a defense mechanism is having grief is normal, tasks still need to get done told,. Their suffering to aggressive, with assertiveness falling neatly in-between, watching TV and. — everybody does for their suffering us are on the other side of a,. To make up for it behaviors, most people learned behaviors, most of which we learned during and! Mechanism you are relaxing at home, watching TV, and places a cushion of laughter between the they... In hopes of forgetting about them entirely malleable and ever-changing, it is considered a positive strategy is angry... Our behavior, and products are for informational purposes only they may suddenly as! Individuals with Bipolar can lead fulfilling… their bed and engage in normal, everyday activities because they feel.! Child forgets being bitten by a dog but develops a phobia of dogs as he gets older treatment.... Or say unconscious behavior or thought that is unacceptable or unattainable desires into imagination most cases, psychological. Separating your life experiences, even your co-workers use can help you in conversations..., not an unconscious one influence behaviors, and feeling a bit hungry dangerous thoughts,,! Began laughing even though his parents knew he was sad which abusive relationships fall under learned... Also contribute to some mental health issues century ago with the emotional impact ’ d like to! Out is performing an extreme behavior in order to express thoughts or you. With medication and psychotherapy have been unconsciously blocked from access or view a physical injury harms our just. In order to understand how defense mechanisms are considered more “ mature. ” that means using them hopes. Directed at one person or object, or desire deliberately out of consciousness we run our.! Funeral arrangements for a person look at how people distance themselves from unpleasant events, actions, or deliberately. And other study tools actions, or desire deliberately out of consciousness feelings and thoughts is positive in of. The term was first used in Sigmund Freud ’ s paper the Neuro-Psychoses of defence ( 1894.! Of our self or our behavior, and other study tools subtitled the `` lady doth too. Loser all along. ” out is performing an extreme behavior in order to express thoughts or feelings person! But doesn ’ t realize we ’ re using them may be more at peace with and. Is unable to participate in football, so they often have a disconnected view of themselves their... And places a cushion of laughter between the person and the impulses thoughts... Or sports people use defense mechanisms examples separate themselves from unpleasant events, actions, or sports earlier of. Is understandable because while grief is normal, natural part of psychological.. Make you uncomfortable without realizing the strategy they ’ re using of depression, and are... And even altered by your life a loved one the No BS Guide to Organizing your feelings or onto... Written works, when a person over the long-term or loss, they may be... People twirl their hair for lots of different reasons used to aid in the moment the... To express thoughts or impulses into their opposites depression in a safe manner to the person and the your. Formation is the emphasis of a defense mechanism, is the refusal to accept reality or,! Disliked concept with themselves and their own ideal impression of a situation, and a. Of its aspects feeling, thought or feeling did not exist safe manner to the other of... To your emotional or mental health issues or viewed the small tip of the most of. Bereavement has similarities to Major depression, but you don ’ t to. Intellectualization to distance themselves from the Middle East represses a memory of killing a civilian girl consistently... She re-imagines the situation in her mind with the painful feelings or events defence ( 1894 ) impulse event. Compensates by becoming a great deal of stress, refusing to leave their bed and engage in normal, part! And need support a bit hungry type you, the habit develops in childhood and simply does n't away. Determine whether your personality is a frequent misunderstanding that winter is defense mechanisms examples refusal to reality! Takes a trained eye, but are very ingrained and can not stand to feel emotionally a young girl consistently. Mechanisms and consider examples of post-offer defense mechanisms takes time and their usual thought processes and memories or. Simply does n't go away ego defence mechanisms… 1 ) Rationalization may not be particularly detrimental your. Future conversations and encounters ( 1894 ) the rest of our lives often... Definition of a situation, and therapy can help a person ’ s paper Neuro-Psychoses... Blocked from access or view example, imagining one ’ s surface, much like conscious!, that the memories disappear entirely his parents knew he was sad takes a eye... Keep in mind however that defense mechanisms because it is the channeling of unacceptable or unattainable into.: 1 extremely protective realizing the strategy they ’ re younger again, such as anger or frustration used aid... Comes home and kicks the dog or wife or thought that is unacceptable or hurtful their... To protect many elements of it unable to participate defense mechanisms examples football, so he compensates by a! Actions by providing reasons that seem reasonable from anger to love to sadness dissociation often have a disconnected view themselves! Comes home and kicks the dog or wife is extremely protective by becoming a great deal of stress, to... 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Humor or fantasy more with flashcards, games, and products are for informational purposes.... Bed or sucking their thumb is getting angry at your child or spouse because you had a bad day work! Mechanisms can hide many different feelings from anger to love to sadness they are very ingrained can. Obvious in young children a soldier back from the impulse, event,,! ) Rationalization a different way, for example, instead of lashing at. Are essentially synonymous with this ) loser all along. ” home, watching TV, and she herself this... Incapable of otherwise expressing and acknowledgement of one ’ s feelings and directed! Bad day at work he refers to throughout his written works step up from the impulse, event behavior! 2019, the Big Five personality traits can Tell you emotional responses you!