Study: Personality is 'set' at Early Age

RIVERSIDE, Calif., July 30 (UPI) — To determine what kind of adult your child will grow into pay attention to school report cards and teachers’ personality assessments, researchers say.

Teachers’ evaluations of youngsters’ personalities hold true 40 years later with the now middle-aged subjects behaving in ways highly consistent with their childhood assessments, a study in an upcoming issue of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science says.


“It really speaks to the remarkable stability of personality,” study co-author Christopher Nave at the University of California, Riverside says. “What people see in you as a child really does translate to behaviors that others can see throughout the majority of your life.”

From 1959-67, 2,400 elementary school students of different ages and ethnicities took part in a project in which teachers assessed their personalities.

Decades later, many of those same people returned for a videotaped follow-up.

In comparing their teachers’ original observations with present-day evaluations, researchers found the majority of participants hadn’t changed in terms of core personality.

“There seems to be some wiggle room,” says Nave. “But in general our conclusion is that we’re recognizably the same person across time and across contexts.”

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