Scientists Hint We Might be Able to Change Our Personality

Shirley Amy
December 29, 2019

Would you like to change your personality? Well, the long held view that it cannot be changed because it’s stable and inherited, is being thrown on its head. This is due to an interesting: “review of recent research into personality science, which points to the possibility that personality traits can change through persistent intervention and major life events” .


Personality Traits

These are identified as: conscientiousness, agreeableness, openness to experience, extraversion and neuroticism. As you may expect, these: “can predict a wide range of important outcomes such as health, happiness and income. Because of this, these traits might represent an important target for policy interventions designed to improve human welfare”.

A Low Down on the Research

The study in question, which was conducted by an international group of researchers, known as the Personality Change Consortium, was published in the latest American Psychologist journal. The consortium is dedicated to improving the comprehension of personality change. It was set up by University of California, Davis, psychology professors, Christopher Hopwood and Wiebke Bleidorn, both of whom co-authored “The Policy Relevance of Personality Traits” [1].

Gearing Positive Policy Change

Bleidorn remarked: “In this paper, we present the case that traits can serve both as relatively stable predictors of success and actionable targets for policy changes and interventions. [And Hopwood  added] parents, teachers, employers and others have been trying to change personality forever, because of their implicit awareness that it is good to make people better people”.

Moreover, Hopwood noted that when it comes to personality traits, their substantial research presents new findings which indicate that they are sufficiently extensive to cover a broad spectrum of socially crucial behaviors. Further, that these can alter, particularly if individuals are guided when they are the right age, and are prepared to do what is necessary to make a positive change. Yet, although it is feasible for these individuals to change, it is not so easy, as the traits remain comparatively stable.

Why Concentrate on Personality Traits?

According to scientific studies: “a relatively small number of personality traits can account for most of the ways people differ from one another. Thus, they are related to a wide range of important life outcomes. These traits are also relatively stable, but changeable with effort and good timing. This combination — broad and enduring, yet changeable — makes them particularly promising targets for large-scale interventions”. So could this come into fruition in the future?

Intervention Targets

In the case of adolescents: conscientiousness and neuroticism, could for example, act as good targets for psychological intervention. Moreover, particular interventions could be more successful with emotionally stable, conscientious individuals, especially in those who need to devise a long-term, constant commitment.

Hopwood and Bleidorn noted that important questions which could be greater informed by personality science, comprise: “What is the long-term impact of social media and video games? [And] How do we get children to be kinder and work harder at school?

Shirley Amy

Shirley Amy is a Holistic Health Specialist and professional writer who's published 4 books. Her  interests include optimum wellness, mental health, fitness, and positive lifestyle change. She holds University and College qualifications in the fields of Health Science, Nutrition, Mental Health, Fitness, Holistic Therapy and Aromatherapy.

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