According to the findings of a new study, our personalities are pretty much set from early childhood, like it or not.
The results show personality traits observed in children as young as first graders are a strong predictor of adult behavior.
“We remain recognizably the same person,” said study author Christopher Nave, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Riverside. “This speaks to the importance of understanding personality because it does follow us wherever we go across time and contexts.”
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).
Among the findings:
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.
If you’re wondering whether any light bulbs should going off in your head about this don’t. It’s news to many individuals that are personalities aren’t shaped purely by outside forces and experiences. Studies have previously suggested that we don’t have any way of knowing whether our children will turn out to be lockpicks in need of a good debt settlement program by the time they turn 18, or instead get straight As in school, be the life of the party and the outgoing student of the month and go on to become a Port St. Joe plastic surgeon.
Children rated as highly adaptable tended, as middle-age adults, to behave cheerfully, speak fluently and show interest in intellectual matters. 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.
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.
Children characterized as self-minimizing were likely to express guilt, seek reassurance, say negative things about themselves and express insecurity as adults. Those who were ranked low on a self-minimizing scale tended to speak loudly, show interest in intellectual matters and exhibit condescending behavior as adults.
Previous research has suggested that while our personalities can change, it’s not an easy undertaking.
Future research will “help us understand how personality is related to behavior as well as examine the extent to which we may be able to change our personality,” Nave said.
MY TAKE: I’m not so sure I would want to know exactly whether my personality at birth was going to lead me into a life of crime or into credit card debt reduction programs or master of the lockpicking gun. I know no one really understands the workings of the mind 100% or whether the light bulbs that go off in our heads one day will lead us into a career as a Panama City FL plastic surgeon or send us down a path to a life of non profit work in Africa; make us shy or outgoing; angry or even tempered. I do think we learn from experiences more and more about who we are and that life is partially a process for uncovering ourselves to ourselves.
Fun Rentals for Your Party
When deciding on what rentals you might want for a birthday party or other celebration, you’ll likely find that, depending on the size and type of celebration, there are an infinite number of fun items you can rent if your party involves kids or a celebration where many children will be present. If you find it overwhelming to realize that you may need to find a bouncy castle, clowns, face painters, magicians, and popcorn machines all at one event, you might consider professional party planning as a method for taking the stress out of your party since after all, a party should be fun, not nerve-racking!
Theory Behind Personality Tests
There are many personality tests that exist in modern psychology that were created to help doctors and patients interpret things like dreams and life events, but it is often important to understand the theories upon which these modern tests are based to fully understand their results. Like the Myers-Briggs test and the sixteen different personality types attached to that test, understanding the reasoning behind the dichotomies of those personality traits and how those qualities influence behavior allow for in-depth study of the reasons people act as they do. While the tests are not a simply black and white method of identifying personality, they can still provide strong guidance.
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