Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Personality Set for Life By 1St Grade

According to an article from LiveScience.com, Friday, Aug. 6, 2010, our personalities stay pretty much the same throughout our lives, according to a new study. The results show personality traits observed in children as young as first grade are a strong predictor of adult behavior.

"We remain recognizable the same people," said study author Christopher Nave, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Riverside. "This speaks to the importance of understanding personalities because it does follow us wherever we go across time and contexts."

The study will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. Using data from a 1960s study of approximately 2,400 ethnically diverse schoolchildren (grades 1-6) in Hawaii, researchers compared teacher personality rating of the students with videotaped interviews of 144 of those individuals 40 years later. They examined 4 personality attributes: (talkative, adaptability, impulsiveness, and self-minimizing behavior).

1. 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.

2. Children rated as highly adaptable tended, as middle-age adults, to behave cheerfully, speak fluently and show interest in intellectual matter. 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.

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

4. Children characterized as self-minimizing were likely to express guilt, seek reassurance, say negative things about themselves and express insecurity as adults. Those who 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.


Anonymous September 11, 2010 at 7:25 AM  

Just browsing through some of your older posts and came across this one. The idea that our personalities are shaped early in life reminded me of some documentaries called The Up Series. A film maker selected 14 children at age 7 and made a film about them (this being in England, his theory was about social class shaping their personalities). Then he made films about them every 7 years after that, although several dropped out along the way, not wanting to be in any more films. I haven't seen the later ones, but the first 3 or 4 films were interesting in how they changed or didn't change. Here's what Wikipedia says about the series:

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