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Study Says Your Personality Doesn't Change After 1st Grade

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the everybody-I-ever-needed-to-be-I-was-in-first-grade dept.

Idle 221

A study authored by Christopher Nave, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, says that our personalities stay pretty much the same from early childhood all the way through old age. From the article: "Using data from a 1960s study of approximately 2,400 ethnically diverse schoolchildren (grades 1 - 6) in Hawaii, researchers compared teacher personality ratings of the students with videotaped interviews of 144 of those individuals 40 years later. They examined four personality attributes - talkativeness (called verbal fluency), adaptability (cope well with new situations), impulsiveness and self-minimizing behavior (essentially being humble to the point of minimizing one's importance)." This must explain my overriding need to be first captain when we pick kickball teams at the office.

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Not true (3, Insightful)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 4 years ago | (#33190324)

Yes and no. Yes, it does not change, in fact it does not change since your first day, simply because your DNA is already setup, and ready to go. And NO, it does change, if you are willing to learn.

Re:Not true (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 4 years ago | (#33190444)

in fact it does not change since your first day

Interesting hypothesis. This study does not examine children before the 1st grade. If it were possible to perform such an examination at birth, would they conclude that personality doesn't change after birth?

Let the nature vs. nurture debate begin!

Re:Not true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33191122)

There was once a study to compare identical twins raised in different places to determine which characteristics were innate.

IIRC, impulsiveness seems to be inherited.

Re:Not true (1)

golden age villain (1607173) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191340)

From the summary: "They examined four personality attributes - talkativeness (called verbal fluency)".

I don't seem to remember that I was talking much at birth so at least in that regard I changed.

Re:Not true (5, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191764)

The question of whether people are shaped by nature or nurture is easy. The answer is "yes".

Genetic determinism, or not? Make up your mind! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33190450)

And while it's killing you dead it will mess with your head
And it's the light in the dark that will guide you
It's the pages and pages of what you are like
In the giant book that's hidden inside you

DNA, you're in my heart
DNA, in fact you're in every part of my body
Each cell has a nucleus, each nucleus has chromosomes
And DNA, baby, that spells DNA

--Jonathan Coulton

Re:Not true (4, Informative)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#33190480)

Yes and no. Yes, it does not change, in fact it does not change since your first day, simply because your DNA is already setup, and ready to go. And NO, it does change, if you are willing to learn.

A couple of years ago, I bumped into an old friend that I lost touch with. Long story short, he said that I am a completely different person than the guy he met 15 years ago. I believe I am an outlier, though. I spent over a decade and almost $70,000 of my own money on personal growth.

A person can and does change when they want to.

On the other hand, I was told by a professional that I really didn't change, per se, and that the old person was really a "false self" and that I becoming the real "me".

Re:Not true (1)

hampton (209113) | more than 4 years ago | (#33190638)

I spent over a decade and almost $70,000 of my own money on personal growth.

Could you please elaborate?

Re:Not true (4, Funny)

nizo (81281) | more than 4 years ago | (#33190808)

$70,000 of drugs and hookers would change anyone's personality.

You insensitive clod! (2, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191000)

Not every first grader has a $70,000 allowance.

OTOH, this may explain Charlie Sheen.

Re:Not true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33191572)

In fact, forget changing the personality.

Re:Not true (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191828)

My guess would be gender reassignment surgery (M->F)

Re:Not true (4, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#33190826)

I spent over a decade and almost $70,000 of my own money on personal growth.

I'm trying really hard not to be cynical here, but how does somebody spend $70K on personal growth? I've had the occasional habit throughout my life of being a bit of a rube, and spending money on "experts." My observations so far have been:

  1. People who claim to be able to help other people are generally very good at helping themselves, and not really very good at helping others
  2. Unless you are committed to change, there are no people, systems, books, or retreats that are going to do a damned thing no matter how expensive they may be
  3. Numerous people in my life who care about me would have had me stripped naked and publicly flogged - for my own good of course - before I got anywhere close to spending $70K on "personal development"

Re:Not true (2, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#33190936)

Depends, 70k in education would be personal development money. And depending upon what you spent it on, that could be money well spent. Or it could be pissing it down a hole as well. Really depends.

Also, if being stripped naked and publicly flogged is your thing, you can get a lot of that action for 70k.

Re:Not true (4, Insightful)

jockeys (753885) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191216)

I spent over a decade and almost $70,000 of my own money on personal growth.

I'm trying really hard not to be cynical here, but how does somebody spend $70K on personal growth?

college?

Re:Not true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33191316)

Numerous people in my life who care about me would have had me stripped naked and publicly flogged - for my own good of course - before I got anywhere close to spending $70K on "personal development"

Some of us don't already have an appropriate dungeon, and construction costs are insane these days!

Re:Not true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33191662)

1 weekly psychiatrist visit @ $135/hr for 10 years = $70,200. Not unreasonable at all.

Re:Not true (2, Insightful)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191874)

That may be a realistic figure, but that doesn't make it reasonable.

Re:Not true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33191352)

The Church of Scientology called. They noticed that your credit card on file is about to expire and they need the new expiration date/CVC code. They warned that if they don't get this information within 48 hours, you will be unable to participate in your next scheduled audit and that failure to participate could delay you reaching Clear state by years. On, and they mentioned it would be a damn shame for you to experience a sudden and unexplained death before reaching Clear state.

Re:Not true (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191608)

It's possible for the personality to be the same, but the person to know different information which changes their actions.

eg. Most people who only saw me from time to time use to think I was quiet, but my friends thought I was very talkative. I didn't get out much, so I didn't know how to act around people which caused me to be quiet.

After college and meeting lots of new people in class/etc, I've learned more about what I can/can't talk about with people I don't know. I am now fairly chatty around new people. but my personality is the same in that sense.

nutshell: same algorithm, different data.

Re:Not true (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191882)

Ironically enough, your explanation as to why you might fit the description in the 'study' also points out why the study is worth less than the paper it is printed on.

Re:Not true (1)

sigmoid_balance (777560) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191656)

Landmark Forum?

Re:Not true (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191926)

A couple of years ago, I bumped into an old friend that I lost touch with. Long story short, he said that I am a completely different person than the guy he met 15 years ago.

This is a very difficult discussion to have without defining the difference between 'personality' and 'behaviour'.

Re:Not true (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#33190522)

I was going to write a big long thing about how I made the conscious decision to change my personality when I was a teen, but I suppose it'll all boil down to statistical outlier and anecdotal evidence stuff.

In all honesty though - perhaps its only true in the environment they tested it in. I mean todays schools pretty much reinforce the claim: those quiet and shy will remain so throughout their school years because of the loud and proud psychologically keeping them in that place. Then once you remain the same for the most influential part of your life, it's difficult to change afterwards.

Suppose you put these kids in an environment where introverts were more encouraged by their peers to try being outgoing every once in a while, and inversely the extroverts were more encouraged to be passive and reflective here and there - perhaps you'd see a change in their personality. As it stands, the conditions kids grow up in usually force them to remain the same person they've always been.

Growing up around the same kids for 12 or so years of your life tends to have this effect. I remember wanting to change myself from being that shy kid when I went to High School, because it meant I would be around new people. I didn't see the point in trying to be outgoing with the people who already labelled me as a nerd - but if no one knew I was a nerd they would treat me differently based on the first impression I give them.

Re:Not true (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 4 years ago | (#33190832)

Since my birthday, i changed a lot of places, schools (4 in fact), employers and employees, friends and enemies, and at the end i do know that i am still the same guy, but with a lot of experience and a lot of "fake" personalities....Wait a minute, regarding Froid, we all do have our fake EGOs, lol, but the only one that matter, the supper EGO is the one that no one met. So, how is it possible to say whether you are changed or the same guy, if you there is no way to make the real comparison (by observing the super EGO)???

Re:Not true (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191582)

You could change your personality to someone who can spell Freud.

Re:Not true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33191824)

I think he should become someone who can spell "super" before he changes to someone who can spell "Freud."

Re:Not true (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191826)

I simply can't agree with this at all. While many of my personal traits have persisted, I know that beyond a shadow of a doubt, my military experience has changed my personality considerably and frankly, I am a better person because of it. (Anyone who knows me or even follows my comments here knows that I am absolutely not a "flag waiver" of any sort. This is my own objective opinion of myself if such a thing is possible.)

But, if any of this is true, and I suspect a strong contributor to the truth of the matter is in this story, then it goes to show how important good parenting and good/proper behavior by parents are absolutely critical to a child's development.

If this idea were to become completely accepted fact, then I predict that the result may be legal issues surrounding the raising of children especially those dealing with abuse. After all, there has been movement in the way of charging people with abuse when they raise obese children.

How many of those kids .. (3, Interesting)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | more than 4 years ago | (#33190330)

took acid later in life?

Re:How many of those kids .. (3, Insightful)

Abreu (173023) | more than 4 years ago | (#33190498)

Or how many suffered a deeply traumatic experience later...?

Re:How many of those kids .. (3, Insightful)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 4 years ago | (#33190940)

Namely Middle School for boys and High School for girls.

Re:How many of those kids .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33191742)

Why would high school be traumatic for the girls? Most girls I knew back in HS seemed to divide their time between conspiring against their peers (sure, some would lose more often than others but overall just about all of them participated so there weren't really a lot of innocent victims), studying, partying and toying with the hearts and minds of boys...

Re:How many of those kids .. (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191416)

That's what I was wondering, too. There's no denying (as far as I know, anyway) that childhood trauma can impact someone's personality dramatically. From what I've read, sexual abuse, in particular, can have a big impact on talkativeness and self-minimizing behavior. The article doesn't seem to say that the study denies that, exactly, but it certainly seems to minimize it. I was fascinated by this passage:

Talkative youngsters tended to show interest in intellectual matters, speak fluently, try to control situations, and exhibit a high degree of intelligence as adults. Children who rated low in verbal fluency were observed as adults to seek advice, give up when faced with obstacles, and exhibit an awkward interpersonal style.

So less talkative youngsters tend to grow up to be socially awkward? Gee, you don't say! Astounding insight, there. Do people really get paid to produce studies as daft as this?

So it is written, so it shall be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33190380)

Sincerely, an ISTJ.

Re:So it is written, so it shall be (1)

Insanity Defense (1232008) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191570)

I took two variants of that test and ended with two different results INTJ and ESFP. If seems I am right on the edge in all four categories and just slightly different questions gives the opposite results.

Nature vs Nurture (1)

Dan East (318230) | more than 4 years ago | (#33190406)

Nature wins?

Re:Nature vs Nurture (2, Insightful)

Da Cheez (1069822) | more than 4 years ago | (#33190694)

Only if personality were set at conception. This is saying that personality is set well after first grade. The personality formed by that stage of life could be due to nurture or nature. It's only nature that makes it stick after it's been set.
Just my .02 cents.

Re:Nature vs Nurture (1)

Aredridel (93503) | more than 4 years ago | (#33190720)

Early nurture wins!

Just had my 20th High School Reunion (1, Troll)

DanCentury (110562) | more than 4 years ago | (#33190408)

I just had my 22-year High School Reunion and personality wise no one changed. Kind of sad.

Re:Just had my 20th High School Reunion (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#33190896)

High school reunions are notorious for their ability to "undo" decades worth of personal growth and maturity.

Re:Just had my 20th High School Reunion (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191500)

High school reunions are notorious for their ability to "undo" decades worth of personal growth and maturity.

The basic problem is that people going to their high school reunions are (consciously or not) regressing to what they were like in high school, if only for that occasion. It's socially easier to pretend that all those years haven't passed than it is to try actually reacquaint yourself with people who you probably don't have all that much in common with anymore.

Re:Just had my 20th High School Reunion (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191920)

people who you probably don't have all that much in common with anymore.

And for the vast majority of those people, all you ever had in common with them was that you were forced to occupy the same physical structure for 7 hours every day.

That's absolutely right! (5, Funny)

e065c8515d206cb0e190 (1785896) | more than 4 years ago | (#33190416)

I still pull girls hair and play with my wiener.

Not true (2, Funny)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 4 years ago | (#33190420)

In 1st grade... I was quiet and geeky.

10 years later... I'm still quiet and geeky.

Damnit.

Re:Not true (2, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#33190534)

Does this mean I've just been a jerk since the first grade? No wonder I don't like my inner child.

Careful, might be not PC... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33190436)

...going around like that and showing results possibly pointing also to few early formative years, and surroundings back then.

Hawaii? (2, Insightful)

suso (153703) | more than 4 years ago | (#33190452)

Hawaii, yeah that's a pretty typical place, I'm sure it being studied in Hawaii won't skew the results.

It probably won't because the results sound right, but still, in the interest of science, I would have been more satisfied if they would have done the study in more than one area of the country/world.

I was also annoyed by my 1st grade teacher not teaching us the Cyrillic and Japanese alphabet as well as the Latin one.

tell that to my soon to be ex (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33190476)

she goes through at least three personality changes daily...

Re:tell that to my soon to be ex (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191138)

Completely normal. That's caused by the second X chromosome. Must be located right next to the "shopping gene". ;)

Remember the "shy girl" from school? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33190500)

She ain't so shy when she's drunk! >:)

That's funny... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33190556)

they obviously never met my wife.

(yeah, i kinda have to post this as anonymous coward)

Re:That's funny... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33190930)

they obviously never met my wife.

(yeah, i kinda have to post this as anonymous coward)

Why?

If you can't joke about your mate without posting as AC you shouldn't post at all.

Re:That's funny... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33191318)

Still trying to understand women?
I gave up a long ago... Nowadays I'm happy just knowing which sequence of acts keep them happy.

Re:That's funny... (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191704)

But why, it is simple, they just wanna their daddy to marry them, and sex of course. But since this is still illegal, they are satisfied with the sex only, lol. And don't take me wrong, the men wanna their mom's, and the rest you already know it.

Re:That's funny... (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191562)

You don't "have to" post that as an Anonymous Coward. You chose to. If she's the kind of woman who would take serious offense at the insinuation that she hasn't changed since first grade, that might be something to take up in couples counseling.

Re:That's funny... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33191772)

Well that's one of the reasons you shouldn't marry a 1st grader.

Does so! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33190674)

Mommy says mine changed lots of times in 2nd grade!

Still prefer to be alone.. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33190706)

I distinctly remember my Second Grade class and how much I preferred to be alone. We had group reading assignments but I didn't enjoy them, nor did I enjoy many other group activities. In Fifth grade I had a psychological assessment (for Gifted/Advanced students, but I was nothing special). The report, which I read many years later, said that I was quiet, quite shy, but had exceptional command of language, and so on. This was before autism was readily diagnosed, and I suspect that had I been tested 15 years later, I would be labeled mildy autistic.

In college, though I was involved in many groups, I still preferred to run off by myself. Fast forward 20 years and it's still the same. I'm involved in a sports team, clubs, etc., but it's almost as if I'm pretending. I do the team activities, give talks, am involved in film making (one of the most extroverted activities I can imagine). People tell me that I am a great speaker and they feel that I relate well, but even to this day I approach conversations in a methodical way: listen, confirm understanding, ask questions, repeat. This pretense is precisely because I enjoy being alone and I found it much easier to pretend to be well-adjusted and sociable than to just tell everyone how I really felt.

Re:Still prefer to be alone.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33190904)

What the? I didn't just write that. Hey, someone is in my thoughts.

Re:Still prefer to be alone.. (5, Interesting)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191796)

I distinctly remember my Second Grade class and how much I preferred to be alone. We had group reading assignments but I didn't enjoy them, nor did I enjoy many other group activities. In Fifth grade I had a psychological assessment (for Gifted/Advanced students, but I was nothing special). The report, which I read many years later, said that I was quiet, quite shy, but had exceptional command of language, and so on. This was before autism was readily diagnosed, and I suspect that had I been tested 15 years later, I would be labeled mildy autistic.

In college, though I was involved in many groups, I still preferred to run off by myself. Fast forward 20 years and it's still the same. I'm involved in a sports team, clubs, etc., but it's almost as if I'm pretending. I do the team activities, give talks, am involved in film making (one of the most extroverted activities I can imagine). People tell me that I am a great speaker and they feel that I relate well, but even to this day I approach conversations in a methodical way: listen, confirm understanding, ask questions, repeat. This pretense is precisely because I enjoy being alone and I found it much easier to pretend to be well-adjusted and sociable than to just tell everyone how I really felt.

It's sad that introverts have to pretend to be extroverts to get by in so many situations. You're not maladjusted or broken just because you don't want to be surrounded by people at all times, despite what people might say. I'm a strong introvert (I don't hate being around people, it just drains me) but I love giving speeches or acting because it lets me bring my thoughts and emotions out in a way that doesn't directly involve interaction with others. At the end of the day, nothing makes me happier than getting the hell out of the office where everyone and everything is clamoring for my attention and reading a book or playing a game of chess with a stranger online.

If you're looking for a good read, I'd like to recommend Introvert Power by Laurie Helgoe. It is a self-help book but it provides some very interesting insights into how you operate, it will make you feel a bit better about it as well as offer ideas on how to deal with the rest of the world. The short version is this: introverts make up approximately half the world's population, setting up a quiet space in your home will go a long way (earplugs work wonders at home and the office, seriously), and it's okay to stay home instead of go out.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33190740)

This research is ridiculous! I hate you guys!! I'm taking my ball and going home!!!

That would explain... (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#33190752)

Why I can't put down Super Mario Bros 1. :|

I have 100% changed. (4, Interesting)

gapagos (1264716) | more than 4 years ago | (#33190770)

In high school (aged 12 to 17) I was an extreme introvert, talking to nobody and never doing sports, only playing video games.

Since I'm 18 (I'm now 24) I'm meeting plenty of random people all the time on CouchSurfing, while travelling and even organizing events in my city, and am constantly physically active, practicing parkour, biking, taekwon-do, rock-climbing and alpine skiing.

I think this study is totally bogus.

Granted, I still play video games. But they're a minority of my lifestyle, when they used to be the majority.

Re:I have 100% changed. (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#33190992)

I tend to agree as well, I've gone through massive swings in personality and interest over the years. It took a lot of work, but I am very different than I was back then. There probably is an element of truth in that inertia is likely set by that point. In that one tends to have to fight if one doesn't want to be type cast permanently. There's a lot of reinforcement that goes on and a lot of pressure not to rock the boat by changing.

Re:I have 100% changed. (1)

DrMaurer (64120) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191152)

Well, considering you're one data point...

Shy and introverted since forever...but that's not even relevant.

Re:I have 100% changed. (3, Informative)

clifyt (11768) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191330)

"I was an extreme introvert...I'm meeting plenty of random people all the time"

Wait? How does this disprove or prove your introversion and or change to extroversion?

People think not being around others is introversion...and it isn't. It is where do you get your energy from. An extrovert will find energy by being around people in ANY activity...not just ones that are hand chosen. An introvert generally has to be in their comfort zone before they can deal with others...they are able to gain more energy from their comfort zone that they may now expend on being around others.

I am a HUGE introvert...and I was a stage performing / touring musician for years. Being an introvert, it make aquiring people skills a little harder, but I made them...and when I did I was able to seem very outgoing under certain circumstances.

BTW -- the sports you list? Very introvert friendly...they are all about being able to focus on you internally, and less about the external.

That said, personality generally is set early on...but people can make a concerted effort (or even a situational one) and change with time. If you were in one of my grad courses, my profs would have used you as an example of not knowing what introversion and extroversion are...then again, unless you are in the field, I wouldn't expect someone to require in depth knowledge (and yeah, the standard def is pretty accurate for 90% of what people use it for).

Re:I have 100% changed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33191524)

You sir... are spot on.

Re:I have 100% changed. (2, Interesting)

thePig (964303) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191448)

The point might be that - your behaviour at 40 is the same as your behaviour at 5. The in between stages are not considered - since people do change a lot through the years. But in the end, you mostly reach your behaviour back at 5.

Re:I have 100% changed. (1)

TheSoepkip (612477) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191480)

I second that. My brother was an extremely introvert kid, after his 16th or so he changed into a highly social extrovert. For me it was the other way around, I was an extrovert kid until my 12th or so and became much more introvert. It's maybe interesting to note that we both went through several personality changes after / during specific events, going to high school, university, moving abroad, getting married, having kids... I'm not sure if our perceived personality changes are real changes or it's just a shiny accumulation of self-awareness, social skills, confidence (and whatever else we pick up as we grow up) over a set of core traits

Re:I have 100% changed. (1)

golden age villain (1607173) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191508)

I agree with you. I had a similar swing of personality around 17-18. Until then I was very shy but when I moved to the university, I started to change quite significantly. Also I do not believe that I have the same personality than 3-4 years ago. I think that their sample is probably too small and I don't believe that teachers' rankings are such a good starting point (granted, you use the data you can get). My teachers were often utterly wrong about the kids around me and in particular about me. And I still play video games.

Re:I have 100% changed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33191536)

You can still be an introvert and be physically active and do all sorts of outdoor activities. None of that means you changed anything about yourself. It just means you changed how you like to spend your time. Your personality != What you do in your free time.

Re:I have 100% changed. (1)

Stick32 (975497) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191892)

Yes a couple people find themselves radically changed from when they were young and so obviously the study is totally bogus. Here's a thought, even if this study is true for 99% (well above what is scientifically needed for causation) of the population, the remaining 1% represents a huge number. By the way, introversion and physical activity levels was not a metric used in the study. The study doesn't mention anything about an introverted youth becoming an introverted adult... The attributes used were talkativeness, adaptability, impulsiveness and self-minimizing behavior. On the subject of impulsiveness:

Students rated as impulsive were inclined to speak loudly, display a wide range of interests and be talkative as adults. Less impulsive kids tended to be fearful or timid, kept others at a distance and expressed insecurity as adults.

The original article also doesn't state that it's impossible for a personality to change from a youth to an adult. It just states it's not very easy.

Re:I have 100% changed. (1)

dselic (134615) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191904)

I think this study is totally bogus.

If you read the article more carefully, you'll notice things like 'children with such and such personality trait TENDED to exhibit this same trait as adults.' I'll bet that the paper itself waters this down even more. The reason is that clear-cut scenarios are very rare in fields such as psychology and in the sciences in general.

The problem is that journalists (or submitters to Slashdot, Reddit and so on) tend to prefer absolute statements, so what was originally a description of a tendency becomes a new law of nature.

1-sided (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33190776)

Yes, because only Peered environments exist is this world. Only for doctoral thesis' right? Non-Peered has no bearing at all.

Also, I guess situational behavior is entirely predisposed as well.

About time (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33190796)

I've been waiting for somebody to answer the age-old question:

Were you born an a-hole or did you work on it your whole life?

Re:About time (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191038)

I've been waiting for somebody to answer the age-old question:

Were you born an a-hole or did you work on it your whole life?

It came naturally at birth but was honed to perfection after years of practice!

Re:About time (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191184)

How exactly does this study explain people who aren't assholes until they're halfway through puberty?

Most likely true for Conservatives ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33190842)

  • they still believe in God
  • they are mostly xenophobes (afraid of strangers/foreigners)
  • they cannot adapt to new developments and want their surroundings to stay as they are (hence conservatives)

Not meant as an inflammatory remark at all ...

Summary Typo (0)

balbus000 (1793324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33190964)

They summary left out a colon:

our personalities stay pretty: the same from early childhood all the way through old age

Either that, or the word "much".

Stop Using Analytic Tools to "Prove" Things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33190986)

As Stated. You Can't "Prove" Anything that way

Oh Yeah? (1)

fuzznutz (789413) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191010)

Tell that to my ex-wife who went nuts after a gastric bypass operation. She could not be more different now. And I am NOT talking about weight. She barely acknowledges our kids now.

Re:Oh Yeah? (2, Interesting)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191720)

Your wife may not have changed at all. It may be just that her environment changed, and thus her completely consistent reactions to the new environment makes it look like she changed.

I am going to make a big assumption here, so please excuse me if I am wrong. I assume that your wife was previously fat. REALLY fat. I will also assume that she lost a HUGE amount of weight from that operation.

There is a common misconception that women are 'natural nurturers'. This isn't the case. Women (like men) have a tendency to be self serving. Making things about them. It is extremely common for that self serving attitude to be confused with being nurturing. This happens because women are generally given higher social status if they are 'good mothers' than if they are not. People look for all sorts of way to get personal gain. Frequently that gain is social status.

The more attractive a woman is, the more attention she will receive from men. The more money and goods that will be given to her, and all around the easier it will be for her to find things other than her kids to fulfill her sociopathic tendencies.

I don't know your wife, so I cannot say whether this is really true of her or not, but having a woman who goes from fat and centered on her kids to skinny and ignoring them fits plenty well in the hypothesis presented in the summary.

Another idle (1)

Dumnezeu (1673634) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191012)

What's with all the idle stories lately? Slow news year?

Re:Another idle (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191830)

Well yes it is a slow news year. The whole economy sliding into a depression might have escaped your notice.

Accurate teacher ratings? (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191030)

A priori I wouldn't have been sure that ratings by teachers would have correlated even with contemporary test results.

Highly skeptical here that "impulsiveness" stays constant with age.

Re:Accurate teacher ratings? (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191218)

I remember that at my 1st grade i was declared math invalid....lol, and i also remember that i did not solve my exams because i wanted to not to pass them. I wonder, who is teaching the teachers how to teach the kids? Don't answer me, it was rhetorical question.

Lots of studies suggest that some of us do change (1)

frog_strat (852055) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191142)

It seems like the traits they chose attempt to cover a few different developmental lines. Perhaps this is just a semantic problem because there is much research to suggest some attributes of a person do change (see Ken Wilber, Spiral Dynamics, Jane Lovinger). The Spiral Dynamics map, for example states that along any given developmental line (cognitive, inter-personal, etc), while a person is at different levels on different lines, the development on a given line will always go through the same set of stages (a bold claim). The Spiral Dynamics studies suggest that 60% - 70 % of people are at 4th stage (order, structure, rules, duty) or below. According to Ken Wilber, it is not clear why some people stop developing at the second or third stage, and others keep moving up to 7th, 8th, and beyond. I guess the same dilemna is there with cognitive intelligence, why do some people have much more, and some much less. FWIW Slashdot seems to be somewhere between pathological Orange (stage 5, science, ambition) and Green (stage 6, pluralistic, care for those outside your class).

Sounds like (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191272)

The seven up [wikipedia.org] series I remember watching as a child.

Late 40's is old age? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33191300)

If late 40's is old age, I guess I better stop reading Slashdot and start watching CNN.

This is not new (1)

bradley13 (1118935) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191332)

The jesuit monks said centuries ago: "Give me the child till the age of seven and I will show you the man."

Frankly, this is also a great tip for dealing with people. If you want to understand someone better, try to imagine what they were like as a child. It almost always give you insight into how to deal with them as an adult.

Re:This is not new (1)

Dr. Zim (21278) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191356)

HAH! I was just going for this quote :)

High school reunion, anyone? (1)

BenEnglishAtHome (449670) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191384)

I think this premise is demonstrably true. Ask anyone who's ever been to a high school reunion.

StrengthsFinder (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191516)

Work just provided the Strengths Finder 2.0 book to employees (don't know what the distribution was, certainly in our area of the company).

In the book it claims to have polled 10 million people with regards to their workplace and how they feel about work.

The main claim seems to be that you have your strengths and weaknesses when you're young and you keep them throughout your life. The book is proposing that we stop trying to strengthen our weaknesses but work in our strengths where we already do a great job.

I found the test (which took 30 minutes with timed (20 seconds per question) answers) to be pretty black or white. Several questions had to be answered neutral because neither had answers I could pick over the other.

The results were interesting but I didn't think they were as accurate as the Insights tests for example. There were items that were spot on, but there were others that I had to scratch my head over.

[John]

kids racial profile at age 4 (1)

cellurl (906920) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191550)

Also worth noting is that by age 4, a room full of racially diverse kids will move toward kids that look like themselves.

Too limited in scope (1)

ITBurnout (1845712) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191752)

So, the whole of my personality can be summed up in four attributes: whether I talk a lot, how well I cope with changes, how impulsive I am and how humble I am? I call BS. Where's the "insensitive clod" attribute?

In all seriousness, while certain propensities may remain throughout life to varying degrees, people change. That's common sense and all that really needs to be said to debunk this so-called study.

More like... (1)

Vyse of Arcadia (1220278) | more than 4 years ago | (#33191762)

...four elements of your personality as a child strongly predict four elements of your personality as an adult (according to the study.) Headline is misleading.

Highly ideological and offensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33192042)

Children who rated low in verbal fluency were observed as adults to seek advice, give up when faced with obstacles, and exhibit an awkward interpersonal style. [...] Those who rated low in adaptability as children were observed as adults to say negative things about themselves, seek advice and exhibit an awkward interpersonal style.

And this is interpreted as evidence for personalities not changing over time. In essence, what they're saying is: Introverts are awkward, hate themselves, have low self-esteem and give up easily. And the ability to seek advice and be critical of oneself is seen as a negative trait. These researchers have no idea what it is like to be an introvert. It doesn't surprise me that they misinterpret our behavior. I get that all the time: people believe I'm timid and self-hating just because I don't advertise myself and am not afraid to seek advice.

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