Stability of Personality Less Certain Over Time

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Credit: REUTERS/Christian Charisius.

It has been reported by the World Economic Forum (WEF) that in a study – with implications for the concept of “self” or “personhood” – an individual changes significantly over time to the point that a senior does not even recognise himself/herself very much as a teenager.

This has been called an ‘ongoing psychological and philosophical debate,’ according to research on personality over time. In fact, this is the longest personality study ever published. The study has been published in the journal entitled Psychology and Aging.

The British Psychological Society highlighted the research suggesting that over the course of time the cells in your body, the appearance to yourself, and your personality are significantly changed to the point of non-recognition.

The study involved 14-year-olds from 1950 a survey in Scotland totalling 1,208 people There were six questionnaires to measure core personality traits: “self-confidence, perseverance, stability of moods, conscientiousness, originality, and desire to learn.”

The collected results from the questionnaires where then titled one trait: “dependability.” After 6 decades, the researchers were able to track down a little over half of the participants or the research subjects.

Of those 635, 174 participants consented to a repeat testing from the 1950 survey. In other words, 1,208 14-year-olds in Scotland in 1950 took part in a 6 questionnaire test for the amalgamated “dependability” trait with 635 being tracked down over 60 years later – and of those 635 there were 174 taking part.

The participants were 77-years-old. The findings are reported to have surprised the researchers because over shorter periods of time personality traits appear to be robustly consistent, and the several decades study in regular intervals of life such as “childhood to middle-age, or middle-aged to older age.”

There was also stability, but there does appear to be change in fundamental personality characteristics in the participants of the study. A 63-year gap for the participants, which is much more significant than the age ranges of childhood to middle age, or middle-age to older age.

63 years can probably be considered a range of childhood to post retirement age. The author of the WEF article argues that there is then truth in the Buddhist conception of a non-stability in the sense of the self. That is, it is more or less an illusion. This is a statement of the writer based on increasing neuroscientific research.

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About Scott Jacobsen 318 Articles
Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially women’s and children’s rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere.

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