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  1. #1

    Default personality changes throughout your life

    A study of 50,000 people is the best evidence yet that personality changes throughout your life

    A new analysis of 14 studies comprising 50,000 people may provide the best evidence yet that personality is not fixed through life.
    Subjects in the US and throughout Europe showed considerable changes in their personalities as they aged.
    Many of the changes were broadly consistent, although some people did change in unique ways.

    You might be fundamentally you for your entire life, but don't expect your personality to stay the same.

    That's according to a major study of 50,000 people over the course of several decades, which found the traditional notion of personality - as fixed and unchanged after adolescence - is mostly untrue.

    People included in the sample showed a common trend as they got older, declining in all five major personality metrics that psychologists have come to trust as the gold-standard.

    Psychologists have been writing about personality for the better part of three centuries, beginning most famously with William James' 1890 text "The Principles of Psychology." Relying on personal observation, James wrote that personality is "set like plaster" after age 30.

    In the century or so since "The Principles of Psychology" was published, psychologists have come to rethink personality in bits and pieces. In 2003, the American Psychological Association observed the changing consensus among members of the field: Personality was beginning to look more like it was ever-evolving, even through old age.

    Continued at...

    Study of 50,000 people shows personality changes throughout life
    "Ce que nous connaissons est peu de chose, ce que nous ignorons est immense."

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011


    Henry Kissinger in 1958:

    Henry Kissinger in 1982:

    Henry Kissinger in 1992:

    Henry Kissinger in 2016:

    Core personality/temperament never changes. Many things do or can including opinions, values, interests, hobbies, goals, but those specific set of characteristics and unconscious tells/expressions....which make Kissinger Kissinger...the overall fixed in nature. Aside from somebody with multiple personality disorder, which I don't know enough about to comment on, I could have used anybody as an example....hell anybody on the planet it's that much of a no-brainer.

  3. #3
    Wake, See, Sing, Dance
    Join Date
    Mar 2012


    Some people go through more extreme epiphanic changes than others. People who knew me up to about age 13 or so find me unrecognisable.

    Even more oddly my own dad said back in early 2016: "I don't know what's happened to you, you seem like a completely different person" and I still see him every day and have done since I was born.

    I think there is a 'natural vs developed' element here that has to do with adaptive preferences and how well one is able to shape a world to their wants and desires, filtered through general beliefs. Even an arch pragmatist and utilitarian who exists on the extreme of those ideas (sometimes unknowingly) has a degree of belief that this is the best way to approach the world (even if there are limitations to the kinds of solutions to problems such attitudes can provide, just as there are in other ways of thinking).

    Development of preference is more complicated and appears balanced fairly well between the spectrum of nature/nurture to my eyes.

    But ultimately if a person has developed maladaptive preferences to their environment, then it can become very difficult to achieve one's desired outcomes. One might want something that is not available for the set, perhaps due to the clashing preferences of other people (more stark if a preference is held by a smaller group or individual) or maybe it is a lack of resources and chances. Or even something more nebulous like a serotonin deficiency resulting in a tendency to swing between moods that may affect or put pressure on certain decision making functions, resulting in an inconsistent set of behaviours.

    The examples are extremely numerous. In any case the options may also be extremely numerous as, just a few examples, one can introduce resources that were absent, attempt to change others preferences, move to a different set and attempt to change their own. Often the latter is one of the easiest because it's the constant people are most familiar with, consciously or not and can require the least amount of effort, although it would depend on the strength of the preference.
    And a preference may be so out of sorts with its various sets that it is completely untenable. An example being the child who wishes to fly unaided by any artificial, human design and is obsessed with achieving it. Something which is, to the best of most people's knowledge, the realm of science fantasy and a desire that is most likely to result in injury or death.
    That could be adapted into a general love for flying, but at this point the preference is now unrecognisable. The element of flying is barely enough to understand where it has come from and essentially the person has changed themselves (on some internal scale) into one who has adapted a preference unsuitable for his/her set into one that is more so.

    Although now it becomes more complicated as the new set has its tugging desire to be fulfilled. Though this is certainly a shorthand post for what is a very complex idea and maybe not one I'm the best at conveying.

    But I think a person who's preference formation (however that might come about for the individual concerned) is not so at odds with a set or has qualities that allow for flexible application, then they also may be less prone to great internal upheaval, even if their experiences and insights are still changing. One who is more opposite to this will find it very difficult to progress and so might believe they need a great change of self in order to get something fulfilling out of life.

    Of course it always depends on the degrees of rigidity as some with maladaptive preferences may stubbornly refuse to change.

    This is one the reasons I've found personality systems to be inadequate. It's neat and they often seem so believable but I think they can fall short of explaining incongruent outcomes in the human condition.

    Although I won't disregard the fact that some of the ideas presented through these theories demonstrate a very good level of insight and that has its own worth as much as any other.
    Likes Digital Lion liked this post

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    6w7 so/sx
    SEI Fe


    Personality is largely formed through experience ("nurture" moreso than "nature"), so it makes sense that as you experience more, you grow more, and thus change more. A past experience that had a heavier bearing on you in some way with have a stronger and more lasting effect on your personality.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    IEI None


    I have a saying, "We don't so much change in life as a person undergoes metamorphosis and evolve into a fuller development of our basic blueprint. That is the hard wiring of the persons genetics and the software of their early childhood development and life experiences. I don't think people change too much unless a severe cognitive dissonance occurs or some trauma which forces one to reevaluate their life, priorities and what has meaning.

    "When the pain of staying put is greater than our fear of the unknown...we find our wings." Jane Lee Logan

    It is precisely because change is so hard and instinctively resisted. For to change one is triggered into a state of discomfort. What's more this triggered state warps ones thinking with either CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) ten cognitive distortions or REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy) ten irrational ideas. Our brain also filters in and out information all the time to keep alive ones underlying beliefs and even subvert truth through rationalization, denial, emotional reasoning or other cognitive fallacy.

    "Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death." Anais Nin

    "There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragments by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cell by cell like a laboring mosaic." Anais Nin

    As I said no one can perceive the truth entirely. If we are fortunate with insight, interpersonal intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence and empathy we can grow. Empathy is the feeling or capacity to think outside the comfort box of ones own limited reality and see through the other persons phenomenological inner universe of experience. Thus we gain insight and this diversity of thought helps mold one into an emotional and spiritually mature individual.

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