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View Full Version : Personality is mostly stable over one's lifetime, but some traits evolve for everyone



Maciamo
21-08-18, 13:04
Do you feel that this applies to you too?

Forbes: Can Personality Change Or Does It Stay The Same For Life? A New Study Suggests It's A Little Of Both (https://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2018/08/20/can-personality-change-or-does-it-stay-the-same-for-life-a-new-study-says-its-a-little-of-both/#7cbd82f379ca)

"For decades personality was considered as unmalleable as concrete – who you were at 15 is who you’d be at 75. But within the last 20 or so years, as cognitive and behavioral science have revealed dynamic insights about the human brain and corresponding behaviors, we’ve come to see personality as at least marginally changeable, and possibly much more so.

The latest study tracked personality changes over five decades, and the results suggest that while certain personality elements remain stable over time, others change in distinct ways. In other words, personality is both relatively stable and changeable, and the degree of change is specific to each person.

The good news from the research is that for those of us who experience significant personality change, the shift is mostly in a positive direction.
“On average, everyone becomes more conscientious, more emotionally stable, and more agreeable,” said lead study author Rodica Damian, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Houston."

[...]

"As to what influences personality stability or malleability, both genetics and environmental factors play lead roles, with previous research suggesting that each contributes equally to the outcome. The relatively new wrinkle in this understanding is epigenetic influence, in which genes for certain factors may be “switched on” by environmental influences.

The study also found that while some personality elements seem more gender-specific, women and men change at pretty much the same rates over their lifespans. Neither has an edge on “personality maturity” over time.

A big takeaway from the findings, the researchers emphasized, is that when it comes to personality change, we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others. Your especially likable and gregarious friend in middle school is still probably going to be more likable and gregarious than most people you know in mid-life, so don't let the social mirror draw you into a comparison. What matters is how much you’ve changed – and that, according to this study, is very much a person-specific evaluation."

Angela
21-08-18, 20:09
Do you feel that this applies to you too?

Forbes: Can Personality Change Or Does It Stay The Same For Life? A New Study Suggests It's A Little Of Both (https://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2018/08/20/can-personality-change-or-does-it-stay-the-same-for-life-a-new-study-says-its-a-little-of-both/#7cbd82f379ca)

"For decades personality was considered as unmalleable as concrete – who you were at 15 is who you’d be at 75. But within the last 20 or so years, as cognitive and behavioral science have revealed dynamic insights about the human brain and corresponding behaviors, we’ve come to see personality as at least marginally changeable, and possibly much more so.

The latest study tracked personality changes over five decades, and the results suggest that while certain personality elements remain stable over time, others change in distinct ways. In other words, personality is both relatively stable and changeable, and the degree of change is specific to each person.

The good news from the research is that for those of us who experience significant personality change, the shift is mostly in a positive direction.
“On average, everyone becomes more conscientious, more emotionally stable, and more agreeable,” said lead study author Rodica Damian, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Houston."

[...]

"As to what influences personality stability or malleability, both genetics and environmental factors play lead roles, with previous research suggesting that each contributes equally to the outcome. The relatively new wrinkle in this understanding is epigenetic influence, in which genes for certain factors may be “switched on” by environmental influences.

The study also found that while some personality elements seem more gender-specific, women and men change at pretty much the same rates over their lifespans. Neither has an edge on “personality maturity” over time.

A big takeaway from the findings, the researchers emphasized, is that when it comes to personality change, we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others. Your especially likable and gregarious friend in middle school is still probably going to be more likable and gregarious than most people you know in mid-life, so don't let the social mirror draw you into a comparison. What matters is how much you’ve changed – and that, according to this study, is very much a person-specific evaluation."

Interesting study. From my own experience I'd say that you can change certain things, but only with some difficulty and practice and only to a degree, I think. I also think, contrary to the authors, that the changes aren't always positive.

As an example, I was a very shy and introverted teen-ager and young woman, happiest with my books and music, and not at all the fan of big parties, etc. However, that apparently isn't the way I presented in Italy, where I was supposedly more outgoing and funny, spirituosa, as we say. I think moving to the U.S. when I was no longer a baby, and being confronted with a radically different environment in terms of language, way of life, even to the landscape, climate, housing, even food to some extent was a shock, although not nearly as great a shock as it was to my mother, who wept for most of five years, I think.

Then, I married an incredibly gregarious, outgoing man who made "friends" instantly, was the life of every party, and was always the most popular person in the room or in any group, and that presented its own challenges, particularly because he really didn't understand my shyness and so was Plnot apt to "coddle" me when at a party, for example, by letting me latch on and follow him everywhere. He would just start mingling and stroll off most of the time. It was sink or swim. He told me to keep a couple of things in mind: most people are more interested in themselves than in you. If you want to "break the ice", ask them about things in their own lives, and keep them talking by some strategic questions, and you've already made some inroads, and there should be no awkward pauses. He also said it was rather self-centered on my part not to be interested in other people and their experience. He told me to look them in the eyes, and sprinkle in some compliments, hopefully sincere, because insincerity usually shows. As he pointed out, and as I think is true, most people have some insecurities, no matter how confident they may seem, and it's a kindness to boost their self-esteem a bit. It also gains you sometimes helpful friends. Also refrain from "bragging", even if you're inclined in that direction. Some self-deprecating humor goes a long way toward smoothing social interaction. Plus, no one is perfect, everyone has flaws, and one should keep that in mind.

It was all good advice and it worked. Did I ever become as gregarious as my husband? No, I didn't, although I found that sincere kindness and concern for other people's problems is much appreciated and brings its own kind of "popularity". However, too much time spent with large groups of people still gave me a headache. I just have always needed more "alone" time than he does to re-charge my batteries.

The underlying personality trait, where it all comes automatically and without really conscious thought is genetic, I'm sure. His entire family on the maternal side is just like him. To be honest, when vacationing with them I have to take an hour or two off every day to take a solitary walk. It's exhausting. :) I was never like them as a child, and neither was anyone in my family. My father's family, in particular, is extremely reserved, shy, almost brusque. My brother is like that and has never changed. When my husband wanted to get my goat he'd tell me it was our "German" blood, no offense to Germans on my part, I assure you.

Now that I'm getting older I'm changing again. When I'm really old I might be like my father and buy a house on a mountaintop with 50 acres all around, only his brother and family around as neighbors, and talk about building a gate which people can only access with a key given out by me. It's probably hormonal changes triggering alleles I got from him.


I was always hyper focused, very neat and tidy, super organized, logica,l and studious, and, it has to be said, rather judgmental, which makes liking most people increasingly difficult as you get to know them. I think my only saving grace in terms of the latter is that I'm harder on myself than on anyone else.

Maciamo
23-08-18, 15:23
You could have described my personality, Angela. :) Are you sure you are INFJ and not INTJ like me? If you are, you are probably pretty close to 50-50 for the Thinking vs Feeling dimension.

Angela
23-08-18, 18:34
You could have described my personality, Angela. :) Are you sure you are INFJ and not INTJ like me? If you are, you are probably pretty close to 50-50 for the Thinking vs Feeling dimension.

No, I'm definitely INFJ no matter how often I take it. :) I probably could be labeled over-empathetic. It's not a comfortable state of being a lot of the time, but as with other personality traits there's not much I can do about it. It's why I ultimately had to go into another branch of my profession: the emotional toll on me became too great. I could never have been a doctor either; I would be incapable of dealing with people's suffering day after day. It doesn't stop me from being infuriated by people.