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Can Your Personality Change Over Your Lifetime?

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/can_your_personality_change_over_your_lifetime

greatergood.berkeley.edu

Can Your Personality Change Over Your Lifetime?
A new study finds that some personality traits are fairly stable and others tend to change, helping us to mature over time.

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Our personalities can change

Our personalities can change

Many of us think our personality is fixed and unchangeable.

But according to a recent study, while our early personalities may provide a baseline, they are pliable as we age. People's personality traits may change drastically over time.

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Why personality changes matter

Thinking of personality as fixed could leave us feeling like we can never grow or dismiss people with certain qualities, believing that change isn't possible. However, we don't simply change our personalities in random ways. The relationship among all of our personality traits seems to be more consistent.

If someone was really conscientious but slightly disagreeable, they might keep that personality profile as they age, even if their other traits changed a bit.

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Our personalities are a mix

Personality seems to change cumulative over our lifespan and likely happens in response to our life experiences. Therefore our personalities are a mix of stable and unstable.

  • Parents and teachers should keep that in mind when they try to influence a child's personality.
  • Even the elderly, whom we might expect to be more set in their ways, can change.
  • Partners would be better served by learning to value what remains constant in someone's personality while embracing personality shifts as they happen.

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The Big Five

It represents the 5 personality traits psychologists use today:
  • Openness to experiences
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extraversion
  • Agreeableness

Openness to Experience

It describes people who enjoy the arts and new experiences. Possible facets:

  • Fantasy: they have a vivid imagination
  • Aesthetics: they believe in the importance of art
  • Feelings: They experience emotions intensely
  • Actions: They prefer variety to routine
  • Ideas: they like complex problems
  • Values: they tend to vote for liberals.

Conscientiousness

People that score high on this are organized, methodical and tend to keep going and going. Possible facets:

  • Competence: they complete tasks successfully
  • Order: they like order
  • Dutifulness: the follow the rules
  • Achievement-striving: they work hard
  • Self-discipline: they get chores done right away
  • Deliberation: they avoid mistakes.