Researchers: personality traits change in the course of our lives

The researchers at the University of Edinburgh found in a study that the human personality changes dramatically in the course of life. So you were a completely different person at the age of 14 when you were 77 years old. The physicians published the results of their study in the journal "Psychology and Aging".

Not only our skin and body change during the aging process. The personality also seems to be undergoing dramatic changes.(Image: JenkoAtaman - fotolia)

study examines six characteristics of personality
The longest-running personality study has identified significant changes in personality that occur over the course of aging. The study began in 1947 and recruited 1,208 young people from Scotland at the age of 14 years. The physicians then asked the teachers of the participants to assess their personality better. The teachers were asked to complete six questionnaires. They should then assess the students on the basis of six characteristics, the experts explain. They dealt with the topics of self-confidence, perseverance, stability of moods, conscientiousness, originality, and existential desire. The results obtained were then combined into an overall assessment.

More than sixty years later the physicians again examined nearly 640 subjects
More than six decades later, researchers from the University of Edinburgh have succeeded in contacting 635 of the original study participants.174 subjects agreed to have their personalities examined again, the doctors say. With an average age of 76.7 years, the participants were once again asked to assess their own personality characteristics. Then a close friend or a family member was also asked to evaluate the subjects with these characteristics, the authors add.

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  • No correlation between 77-year-olds and 14-year-olds detected
    On a new study, subjects were asked that theyseven personality scales and tests. In addition, their mental health was re-evaluated by the experts. When the researchers then compared the results of the 77-year-old with those of the 14-year-old subjects, they found no remarkable correlation. No positive correlations could be identified that would have been strong enough to allow a significant meaning between youthful and older characteristic assessments or reliability, the scientists explain."We suspected that over a long period of 63 years, we would find statements about personality stability," the scientists explain. But the lack of correlation did not support this hypothesis, adds the experts.

    results were a surprise to the researchers
    Even if the team ran the data through a more complex model that took into account the effects, they found only a fairly low correlation of the conscientiousness and the stability of the mood characteristics between the 14 - year - old subjects and the77-year-old subjects, the authors explain. There was also no correlation between the other features. The results were a surprise for the medical profession. Previous studies had identified a personality stability among people from childhood to middle age and from middle to senior age.

    Longer Interval in Investigations Weakens Link
    According to the researchers, there is some evidence that many small changes in personality over a lifetime can lead to studies that look at character properties only over a certain period of time, making the larger picturenot seen. As a result of this gradual change, the personality may appear relatively stable over short intervals. This effect is increasingly observed during the adult age, the experts add. However, the longer the interval between two personality judgments, the weaker the linkable connection. The current results suggest that an increase in the interval to 63 years would likely lead to a lack of a relationship.

    reservations in the investigation
    There are, however, also some fierce reservations, which must be emphasized here. The sample size was very small and not very varied. The original study did not allow participants to evaluate themselves. The results were based exclusively on the opinion of their teachers, explain the doctors. The researchers were only looking for links between personality results, not the reasons why our personality traits could change in the course of life. Further research is needed to better understand this effect, the researchers conclude.

    25 per cent of respondents made dramatic personality changes after age 70 by
    The current findings support the results of a study from 2014, which had examined more than 23,000 people in Germany. The experts found that the personality of the elderly can change at a similar rate as the young adults. This study showed that up to 25 percent of the participants experienced a dramatic personality change after the age of 70.Unlike in the case of young adults, the change in personality among elderly people was not comprehensible, explained the experts.

    Further research is needed
    In order to explain the change in personality over the course of human life, we have to find the origin for this, the scientists report. But the results could be the first sign that it is not just our cells that are undergoing major changes in the course of life, the authors say. Behavior and emotions are not chiselled in stone, as many experts have suggested, but are changing drastically in the course of life.(as)

    study establishes dramatic changes in personality
    As people grow older, the body also ages and the consequences of it are usually not overlooked. Researchers have now discovered that not only the body is changing massively, but the personality can also undergo dramatic changes throughout life.

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