Monday, March 26, 2012

Our changing personalities

Earlier in March, Winton Bates had a short piece How much does personality change over time? looking at some evidence suggesting that individual personalities may change more than is often realised.

This topic has always interested me. One of the difficulties lies in the distinction between personality and the way that personality manifests itself. Our personalities lead us to react in particular ways that can then feed back into apparent personality changes. But has our personality actually changed?

Just from observation, I think that the answer here has to be yes. This links to some of the discussion here from time to time on things like the impact of stress and the linked topic of resilience in both individuals and organisations.

A stressed organism may react to stress to the point that those behaviours become inbuilt even where the source of stress has been removed. For all practical purposes, personality has changed.   


Evan said...

I think we can change how we think, feel and act in any given domain. Which is a pretty good definiton of personality change.

I don't think this should be forced. I do think there is some kind of innate sense of who we are. So I also think there is some core to us also

Jim Belshaw said...

I agree with both points, Evan, although the first can be difficult.

Winton Bates said...

Thanks for your comments Jim and Evan.

Jim Belshaw said...

A pleasure, Winton.

Legal Eagle said...

I think that my personality has changed since I went into academia. I have seriously had to become less decisive and more open-minded to different view points. My basic personality is the same - but I do feel the way in which I handle information has changed.

Rummuser said...

But of course, we change. Look at me. I lounge around in my lungi and vest and do things when and how I want. I am no longer a "Suit."!

But the more 'things' change around me, the more they remain the same too.