Or more specifically, what spurs people to change? If someone is a shitty person, do you think they can just wake up one day and decide to no longer be a shitty person? Does an abusive man (whether emotionally or physically) one day just decide to not be a pig anymore, and becomes a romantic gentleman?
If you truly do believe people can change, then do you believe is it sudden or gradual?
It's not a true statement to say that people do not change; specifically, that brain function does not change over time. That's as illogical as saying people cannot learn. Sure, people have a genetic predisposition to behavior, but our environment also plays a significant role. 'Human behavior genetics' helps us understand how people create their own environments.
In regards to what spurs change... one way is through our experiences, which teach us that negative behavior is not rewarding and thus not worth it. Though we may have a genetic predisposition for bad behavior, we learn that the repercussions are unfavorable to the point of causing us to refrain from that behavior the next time.
In summary, we can learn behavior, we can control our thoughts, and we can control our behavior. Some neuroscientists believe we have the power of 'mind' to change our own brain function over time ('mind over brain'); essentially, strengthening certain brain circuits. Here's an interesting article about how neuroscientists are finding evidence that meditation can rewire or strengthen brain circuits for desired behaviors, http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/1...elieve-it-can/.
Some people try to change, but fail over the long term because they aren't ready for it. There is right brain therapy that can reverse programming done during early developmental time (before left brain development occurs). And that's for fucked up deeply ingrained patterned shit. All sorts of more superficial change, like becoming more proactive, happens all the time everywhere.
I used to get my friend in kindergarten to ask the teacher if I could go to the bathroom I was so painfully shy. I would hide under tables when certain people came over. I am now the first person to start working a room at a networking event, and I always volunteer to speak first during presentations I'm a part of. I even ask dudez out and initiate kisses.
You want to tell me people don't change? They do. All the fucking time buddy.
edit: In response to Edgar.
A few things - first of all, NFs have a hardon about "people change" because of NF's views about idealism and redemption, etc. Second, there is a good chance we differ on what constitutes "change".
For example, in high school my social skills weren't as refined as they are now. Over time, I've learned how to put people at ease while talking to them, started employing faux-feeler niceties in my day to day communication, and realized that some people are just the way the are because they were born that way and there is no sense in banging my head against the wall if they act irrational (knowledge of Myers Briggs helped a lot in this department).
But have I turned into an extravert? No. Became more of a Feeler? No. Has my general view of the world changed? No. Did the way I view and value people change? A little, maybe. I've grown to understand that there are more intricacies to human nature than I originally thought, and learned to value them for what they are. But did my attitude toward humanity in general change? No.
The changes that took place are more or less cosmetic. I would say I appear a lot more pleasant and socially graceful than I did in high school. Yet I am still the same "irreverent asshole" on the inside. I've just learned to adapt in order to make my life easier. Keep in mind, these cosmetic changes that took place are the first level of interaction, so if I had a stranger talk to my high school self, and then talk to my present self, chances are the stranger would say that those are two noticeably different people, while in reality, it's pretty much the same person, only the older me is wiser than the younger me. I now use discretion on who gets to see the "true me".
So as I've mentioned in a previous post, I've learned to adapt, as have you. I wouldn't consider any of that a fundamental change though. And yes, there are people who don't get wiser with age. I usually refer to those people as "retards".
Listen to me, baby, you got to understand, you're old enough to learn the makings of a man.
Tater you sent me a rep and replied to this in the thread, so I'm assuming this is very important to you. However, I never said you were preying on a weak-minded NF. I was trying to figure out why you were challenging me, in particular, when I had actually made a much less extreme statement than Edgar had.
My suggestion that you thought my mind was more changeable is due to ENFP flexibility (and openness to opinion of others, including about my own damn MBTI type) and INTJ stubbornness, the way they can be so convinced they are right.
"Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." - Edward Abbey