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This research suggests that "personality
traits" are largely determined by (roughly) age six. The articles don't
propose what factors determine a person's personality, and suggest
that a person's life experience alone does little to change their
personality over time. Both of these research reports suggest that human personalities can
This brief YouTube video offers perspective on what you're about to
See my comments after the summaries.
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Personality Set for Life By 1st Grade, Study
By LiveScience.com staff, via Yahoo News -
Our personalities stay
pretty much the same throughout our lives, from our early childhood
years to after we're over the hill, according to a new study. 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
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 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),
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
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. Personality is "a part of us, a part of our biology," Nave
said. "Life events still influence our behaviors, yet we must
acknowledge the power of personality in understanding future behavior as
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.
This research doesn't define
or propose what factors shape it. These findings support the premise
in this Web site that early childhood experience (perhaps including the
pregnant mother's environment, stress, and
significantly shapes who an infant "becomes."
From research since 1986, I propose that children
deprived of healthy nurturing during their first years of life
''wounds.'' These can cause significant personal
throughout life, unless the adult intentionally admits and
their wounds by
retraining and harmonizing the conflicted parts of their personality
This report's author acknowledges that changing personalities is
possible, but "is not an easy undertaking."
Lesson 1 in
this educational Web site offers a research-based concept of how to
intentionally harmonize your personality by meeting and reorganizing the subselves
that comprise it.
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Personality Predicted by Size of
Different Brain Regions By Rachael Rettner, LiveScience Staff Writer, via Yahoo
In a social situation, it's
easy to tell the difference between a wallflower and the life of the
party, but a new study suggests we can also spot differences in their
The results show the size of certain brain regions is related to
people's personalities. For instance, highly altruistic people had a
bigger posterior cingulated cortex, a brain region thought to be
involved in the understanding of others' beliefs. Bigger regions are
assumed to be more powerful.
"One of the things that this shows is we can start to develop theories
about how personality is produced by the brain," said study researcher
Colin DeYoung, of the University of Minnesota.
While people's personalities are likely shaped by both genetic and
environmental factors, the findings might help explain the differences
in people's actions and demeanors from moment to moment, he said, or
"what produces the patterns of behavior and emotion and thought that we
describe as personality."
The Big Five
There are many ways to describe someone's character — from talkative to
anxious to hardworking and organized.
Psychologists have found that
many traits often go together and have grouped these traits into five
Psychologists can get a pretty good picture of someone's personality by
determining to what degree they express each of these traits.
Scientists have only recently begun to link up personality research with
neuroscience to try to figure out the underlying brain mechanisms
responsible for personality differences.
DeYoung and his colleagues imaged the brains of 116 participants who had
previously completed a questionnaire designed to assess their
personality in terms of the "big five."
Next, they matched up all the brain images. Since everyone's brain is
different, the images won't line up perfectly right off the bat. So the
researchers picked one image — from a participant who scored about
average for all five traits — to serve as a "reference brain."
A computer program was then used to squish and stretch the images so
that they all lined up with the reference brain. This allowed the
researchers to compare all the subjects' brains, and see how large or
small certain brain regions were relative to one another.
Personality in the Brain
A connection between brain region size and personality was found for
four out of the five traits (all except openness/intellect).
Those who scored high on neuroticism — which indicates a tendency
to experience negative emotions, including anxiety and
self-consciousness — was associated with a larger mid-cingulate cortex,
a region thought to be involved in the detection of errors and response
to emotional and physical pain. Neurotics also had a smaller dorsomedial
prefrontal cortex, a region implicated in the regulation of emotions.
Extroverts, those who are sociable, outgoing and assertive, had a
larger medial orbitofrontal cortex, a region involved in processing
rewards. This goes along with the idea that extroverts are sensitive to
rewards, which in our society often involve social interactions and
Conscientious people, who tend to be orderly, industrious and
self-disciplined, had a larger middle frontal gyrus, a region involved
in memory and planning.
The researchers note however, that
a bigger brain region does not
necessarily mean the region has better functioning, although
extensive evidence supports this assumption.
The results do not indicate, that people are doomed to embody one
personality or another for their whole lives. Though it's not
necessarily easy, personalities can, and do change.
"Our experience can change the
brain," DeYoung said. "And as the brain changes, personality can change,"
The results were published online April 30 in the journal
Like the prior report, this one doesn't define "personality." It offers
a partial definition by naming five significant traits in all people.
This report finds that these (and all?)
personality traits are related
to specific regions in the brain. This supports the idea that
''personality subselves'' proposed in Lesson 1 here are really discrete,
brain regions which can't be "killed," "exiled," or "demoted." They
can be retrained.
The observation that functional regions differ in size in different
brains raises the question of "What factors determine human brain
growth?" The report doesn't propose an answer, other than the generality
that brains are affected by genetics and (early-childhood?) environment.
It's significant that the researchers chose not to include
among the key personality traits they studied. My experience as a
veteran therapist is that
(low self-esteem) is a major (and widespread) personality trait that
significantly affects all aspects of kids' and adults' lives.
Note the labeling of some emotions as "negative" (anxiety,
self-consciousness). Many lay and clinical authors further this harmful
misconception. I propose that emotions are neither "negative" or
"positive," but are each useful pointers to current
The way emotions are expressed can be "negative" (stressful) or
The personality trait of neuroticism is rooted in the outdate
Freudian "medical model" pf psychological problems. I propose that
non-organic neuroses and psychoses are symptoms of the
widespread psychological wound ofreality distortion
resulting from early-childhood trauma..
The report's author agrees with the view that
brain functioning - and
hence personalities - canchangeLesson 1
here offers a safe, effective way to retrain and reorganize the
that comprise your unique personality..