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Are you the same person you used to be? Is personality static or changing?

Psychology talks about the Big Five personality traits. OCEAN (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism).

Many psychologists believe there are 5 dimensions to personality (though they have recently proposed a 6th for honesty/humility).

Do you think any of these traits have changed in you over your lifetime? Do you think they are static or fluid?

Honesty-Humility: Persons with very high scores on the Honesty-Humility scale avoid manipulating others for personal gain, feel little temptation to break rules, are uninterested in lavish wealth and luxuries, and feel no special entitlement to elevated social status. Conversely, persons with very low scores on this scale will flatter others to get what they want, are inclined to break rules for personal profit, are motivated by material gain, and feel a strong sense of self-importance.

Emotionality: Persons with very high scores on the Emotionality scale experience fear of physical dangers, experience anxiety in response to life's stresses, feel a need for emotional support from others, and feel empathy and sentimental attachments with others. Conversely, persons with very low scores on this scale are not deterred by the prospect of physical harm, feel little worry even in stressful situations, have little need to share their concerns with others, and feel emotionally detached from others.

eXtraversion: Persons with very high scores on the Extraversion scale feel positively about themselves, feel confident when leading or addressing groups of people, enjoy social gatherings and interactions, and experience positive feelings of enthusiasm and energy. Conversely, persons with very low scores on this scale consider themselves unpopular, feel awkward when they are the center of social attention, are indifferent to social activities, and feel less lively and optimistic than others do.

Agreeableness (versus Anger): Persons with very high scores on the Agreeableness scale forgive the wrongs that they suffered, are lenient in judging others, are willing to compromise and cooperate with others, and can easily control their temper. Conversely, persons with very low scores on this scale hold grudges against those who have harmed them, are rather critical of others' shortcomings, are stubborn in defending their point of view, and feel anger readily in response to mistreatment.

Conscientiousness: Persons with very high scores on the Conscientiousness scale organize their time and their physical surroundings, work in a disciplined way toward their goals, strive for accuracy and perfection in their tasks, and deliberate carefully when making decisions. Conversely, persons with very low scores on this scale tend to be unconcerned with orderly surroundings or schedules, avoid difficult tasks or challenging goals, are satisfied with work that contains some errors, and make decisions on impulse or with little reflection.

Openness to Experience: Persons with very high scores on the Openness to Experience scale become absorbed in the beauty of art and nature, are inquisitive about various domains of knowledge, use their imagination freely in everyday life, and take an interest in unusual ideas or people. Conversely, persons with very low scores on this scale are rather unimpressed by most works of art, feel little intellectual curiosity, avoid creative pursuits, and feel little attraction toward ideas that may seem radical or unconventional.

[hexaco.org]

And a shout out to @NerdyOkieDude for inspiring my question. I've been thinking about the Big 5 and whether they were static (and didn't realize they'd come out with a 6th until the recent question about the MBTI).

silvereyes 8 Dec 28

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47 comments

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1

The only thing that fits me is evolved. I have taken every negative or positive influence that I have experienced or was involved with someone who went through a traumatic change. I have broken bits of the ideas off, incorporate each event to try and improving others thought processes. As any evolving being would do is adjust to the circumstances, and adjust for the margin of errors.

9

In my younger days I was much more Republican. Then I opened my eyes and saw the real world.

7

If you are not changing, you are dead intellectually and emotionally. Otherwise, you try to become better in who you are and how you feel about yourself and others.

6

Constantly changing, at least for me. I am striving to be a better person every day.

6

My OCEAN has become more salty, although I want to change it, but it will take time. I am more honest and I find that people do not prefer that characteristic as much as they claim.

5

I'm still evolving. The person I was during my 20s and 30s is virtually nothing like the person I am now. Thank goodness!

5

It was once believed that we were hardwired into how/who we are. We now know there's neuroplasticity. I have changed so much in my life mostly after training in NLP, Life Coaching. EFT, Hypnotherapy, Reiki and Tai Chi

4

I object to intraversion being cast in solely negative terms. Introverts are also more self reflective and self aware, more comfortable with solitude and even enjoying time alone, less afraid to be alone, and more likely to devote time to reading.

Anyway, I've always said people can change but most of us choose not to. I think on the stated dimensions above if people change it is a matter of degree rather than switching sides entirely. For example, as a kid I used to look at the floor and say nothing when someone just passing by said hello. Today I can socialize like anyone else when I want to but I'm clearly more comfortable with people I already know, and find it easier to get to know someone talking one on one or in small groups rather than in a crowd of people. But I will never be an extrovert. Crowds and noise are just too draining after a while (unless there is karaoke but that's just because I can sing much better than I can do small talk.) On openness, I think people who start out open tend to drift toward further openness over time, especially in the right environment. Someone who tends to be closed off only becomes more open with a radical change in environment (ex. all white rural neighborhood vs. a racially diverse college).

4

I am a New Man every day.

4

I'm very different than I used to be. I was wild & crazy, drinking and drugs were the name of the game.

Now I'm more introverted and conscientious.
I believe being more conscientious leads to being more humble and honest, emotionally open, and agreeable.

@silvereyes Still a rebel are ya?

@silvereyes 😉

4

All of your six personality categories are described in the context of how we interact with our environment. So i'll ask you is our environment static or dynamic? I think we agree that our environment always changes. Consequently our personalities should be informed and reshaped by those changing experiences.

@silvereyes I think we are saying the same thing. The environment will effect everyone differently based on their OCEAN + H construct. The variables here would be amount of change and length of time to respond. This is a great conversation about the human condition!

3

For me, while there have been some changes over the years (how could there not be?) I don't think I'm dramatically different from the person I was many years ago.

3

When I was getting my BA in psychology, there was always a big fight between nature vs. nurture. It is my belief that everyone is born with predispositions. If an event happens in our lives, it can trigger these predispositions and we may see change. I have never seen the human mind as static. Every experience adds to who we are and what we can be. We live in a domino effect environment where each of us touches another in some way. It may just be a smile, or holding a door for someone..or being a jerk on the highway. But our mind sees and records everything and if the conditions are right, we make a memory, a connection, or alter how we proceed in life.

I often wonder who I create in dreams and how some of them seem familiar, but I don't know them. They can be anyone I see on the street, shopping mall, or television. The mind is an amazing thing and we never really stop learning, so I think we are always changing.

I also have a bachelors in psych and thought it was weird to debate nature OR nurture. They interplay together, effect each other. The brain is constantly shaped by experiences so our “nature” adapts to our environment.

@A2Jennifer Exactly!

3

Reading your post, I would say that I would probably not have made the changes I have on my own.

@silvereyes Actually, I sought help in making those changes

3

I would say my emotionality and agreeableness have gone down whilst my extroversion and conscientiousness have increased.

3

Always been the same and always been weird. The only thing i notice that has changed its my patience. As i age i get more impatient and easily agitated.

2

Without reading the whole post... there are definitely aspects of my personality that haven't changed at all since I was a kid. But anything that was based on a misunderstanding of how the world functions or why people did things has changed. I remember being fearful of other people as a teenager, like I thought they had time to judge me and I needed to impress them. That view shaped a lot of what my personality was back then and since my view has changed I've pretty much flipped to the exact opposite.

2

I don’t have a testing baseline from earlier in my life, but compared to 20 or 30, my Openness level has increased (from average to high) and I’m lower on Neuroticism (average to low). I’d say I’ve been fairly consistent on Conscientiousness (about 65-75 percentile, kinda above average), Agreeableness (about 30-40th percentile), and Extraversion (about 15-20th percentile). If only I could make the same progress with Agreeableness and Extraversion that I have made with Openness...

2

In many ways I am the same person I have always been. But I have changed drastically in other ways. There was a drastic change in me at the age of 25. I went from a hopeless alcoholic, with all the character flaws that go with that, into an honest, caring, hard working, dependable human being. I have even been accused of being humble.

Both an internal and external force. The internal force was the certainty that I could not live through another sobering up. The external forces were the first three chapters of the AA Big Book and David Seabury's book The Art Of Selfishness.

2

apart from physically, I have hardly changed since I was a child, I know it myself, I reflect a lot. Also in the past year or so people from my past have made contact, and all say the same thing, I was always as I am now. So I guess I haven't grown or matured much.

2

Honesty Humility Scale: The desire to cheat or manipulate others is always something that I find repugnant. It is the result of being conditioned in zero-sum game theory and stuck there.

Emotionality Scale: I am somewhere in the middle range of this scale, however, I am inclined to think that this is true for many people and to some extent it is,for want of a better description, situationally relevant.

Extraversion Scale: I would score high because I am someone who enjoys meeting and conversing with people on a variety of topics. I have been told that I relate well to others. I am renowned for my sense of humor.

Agreeableness Scale: I do not hold grudges against others and prefer to deal with the matter ASAP and move on. I am lenient and fair in my dealings with others. I understand the concept of cooperation and the need to achieve a common goal with others.

Conscientiousness Scale: Currently, I would place my self n the middle range and would have no problem changing to meet the requirement of the higher end of the scale.

Openness to Experience Scale: I think I tick all the boxes for the high end of the scale.
Now, where is my box of cookies for completing this survey?.....LOL

2

Geeze... I feel some relief about certain issues. Other people's questions are are complicated and require a lot of thought. I don't always agree with what i read because I'm wired differant. But it makes me think and wonder if I'm wrong. Sometimes i change my mind and sometimes I stand my ground. Am I evolving... possibly. Are my true colors starting to show... most probable. Am I insulated by a negetive reply... it makes me dig a little deeper to check my answer... I have been wrong.... Yes! and I will admit it. If there's a personal experience that directs my answer... I will stand my ground. I have a right to my answer unless it offends ... then I will retract my statement and apologize. So... there I am....me!

2

I think I"m the same as I've always been.
Interesting Biblical quote "Can the leopard change his spots ? Can the Ethiopian change the colour of his skin ?

2

At the age of 80, on those 5 dimensions of personality, at the age of 80 I have changed little, except to be more intolerant of sloppy thinking, bigotry, religious zealotry, demagoguery, and greed. What l have changed is how I live my life as my body gets older, with the physical effects of aging.
From he age of 30 through 60 I had high energy levels, often working 60 - 80 hour weeks conceptualizing, building, and implementing programs of action . I read and learned voraciously,
Those efforts brought me into contact with thousands of people. And I loved the whole thing.
I had real goals and pursued them with vigor.

Today, with vision problems, I no longer read much. My goals are short-term -- this week, this growing season, this year. I live more in my mind today, while remaining as physically active as my aging body will allow me to be..

2

Yes and no.

2
  1. Honesty and humility=grew up with advantages but pushed them aside past adolecence. Very i2mportant to me.

  2. Emotionality used to be very high-high managable level now.

  3. Extraversion was low until my 20s when I took Dale Carnegie courses, public speaking classes and started a career in sales

  4. Agreeableness always high-never hold grudges..

  5. Conscientiousness-Was higher when I was working-since retirement its gone down-.

  6. Oppenness to Experience -would be mid-range to high.

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