Even When We are Unmotivated to Change, Our Personalities can Change

Even When We are Unmotivated to Change, Our Personalities can Change

A recent study published in the Journal of Research in Personality backs up the idea that personality is more flexible than previously assumed, even implying that people’s personalities can be changed even if they aren’t want to change.

“A growing body of research suggests that personality traits can be changed through intervention,” say the authors of the research, led by Nathan Hudson of Southern Methodist University.

Individual variances in distinctive patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving are referred to as personality. The study of personality focuses on two broad areas:

Understanding individual variances in personality traits such as sociability and irritability is one example.

The other is comprehending how a person’s diverse pieces come together as a whole.

Personality refers to a person’s distinct manner of thinking, feeling, and acting. It encompasses moods, attitudes, and ideas, and is most visibly displayed in social interactions. If they are effervescent or quiet, sensitive or thick-skinned, each person has a concept of their own personality type.

Personality is defined by psychologists who are trying to figure out the science of who we are as individual distinctions in how people think, feel, and behave. The primary assumption behind the study of personality is that persons are identified by their own individual patterns of behavior, such as the distinct ways in which they move, talk, furnish their living quarters, or communicate their desires.

A growing body of research suggests that personality traits can be changed through intervention.

Nathan Hudson

Successful interventions, according to theorists, may necessitate (1) participants’ autonomous choice of which attributes to modify and (2) their strong involvement in the change process. To put these theories to the test, the researchers undertook two separate four-month trials.

In the first study, 175 college students were randomly allocated to change either their conscientiousness or their emotional stability personality qualities. They were then given a list of tasks to complete in order to develop that personality feature.

Those who were chosen to work on being more diligent, for example, were assigned chores such as “organize and clean your desks” or “create a list of activities you’d like to complete.”

More than 400 college students from various universities took part in the second study. Half of the participants in this study were randomly assigned to receive tasks aimed at a characteristic they didn’t choose.

The 44-item “Big 5” personality test was used to assess students’ personality traits before and after both studies. Two study teams established the Big Five in the 1970s. According to Scientific American, these teams were led by Paul Costa and Robert R. McCrae of the National Institutes of Health, as well as Warren Norman and Lewis Goldberg of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and the University of Oregon.

Even if individuals were not motivated to change, the researchers discovered that conscientiousness, or the ability to be responsible, hardworking, and organized, could be enhanced. Completing a series of tasks on a regular basis was found to promote conscientiousness via changing behaviors.

Psychiatric case studies focusing on lives in distress, philosophy, which analyzes the nature of man, and physiology, anthropology, and social psychology have all contributed to the systematic psychological study of personality.

Emotional stability, on the other hand, was another story. Only those who chose to work on their emotional stability improved their capacity to deal with tough situations in the study. Aside from that, the tasks they were given over the course of four weeks were useless or even counterproductive.

This research suggests that schools, businesses, and other organizations may ask people to make little changes that would help them become more organized and responsible over time.

“Conscientiousness is linked to a huge array of positive life outcomes, including physical and mental health, grades, occupational performance, and even mortality,” says Hudson.

“So, ‘workplace training’-style interventions targeting conscientiousness have the potential to improve both individual outcomes and larger-scale social outcomes.”

Emotional stability, on the other hand, appears to necessitate a greater involvement from those who participate in an intervention. People must be driven to change emotional stability, according to the study, because this trait deals with negative emotions.

Many modern psychologists, as well as their ancient counterparts, have been attracted by the idea that people fall into particular personality type groups based on physical traits.

However, the notion that people must fit into one of several fixed personality types has been extensively debunked. The humoral and morphological theories are both explored in this paper.

“For many people, it can be difficult to ‘just stop feeling angry’ or ‘just stop being stressed,’” comments Hudson.

“My hunch is that indirect strategies for changing someone’s emotions, such as writing in a journal or thinking about positive things, can only really work when people want to use those techniques to change their emotions.”