Do people change throughout their life? This is possibly one of the oldest and most debated questions in society in general, as well as in philosophy and psychology.
Although personality has traditionally been considered as a rigid, stable and hardly alterable construct; a series of studies reveal that this is not entirely true. Next, we analyze the details of this study and the possible causes that influence personality changes.
How is Personality Defined?
The personality is a basic construct within the field of psychology, so throughout the years of study of this have been developed a lot of definitions. However, most of them have a number of points in common that can help us understand what this concept is about.
Broadly speaking, the concept of personality can be summarized as the combination of thoughts, emotions, and feelings that define a specific person. They are stable over time and do not vary from one situation to another.
The Big Five Model!
The personality traits of each person can be seen reflected in the acts and behaviors of this, being coherent through the situations and independent of the contexts experienced or lived by the subject. Hence, the personality is what makes the person unique.
These personality traits referred to are those collected in the Big Five model, this being the most accepted model today. According to the model, five large dimensions form the basis of our personality. These are:
As is logical, these dimensions are not the same in all people, but the scores of these can vary significantly from one subject to another. So, each personality is the product of infinite combinations of these traits.
In the same way, although the personality remains stable through situations, this does not imply that the person will always behave in the same way, but that the personality governs the way in which we perceive reality and interact with it, creating a series of sophisticated and relatively flexible trends and patterns.
This flexibility finds its explanation in that the person needs to adapt to the environment that surrounds it. This does not mean that we stop being ourselves, but that our personality can fluctuate throughout the different epochs of our life.
The main theories also coincide in the personality that accompanies the person from the same moment in the birth, possessing a series of own traits. It will adjust and change in interaction with their context and the vital experiences of this, being, also, essential for the development of the social skills of the person and therefore for the integration of this in society.
Can Personality Change Throughout Life?
The question of whether our personality can change more or less radically throughout our lives is a constant throughout the history of psychology. Therefore, it is logical to think that after all these debates and research psychology would have a definitive answer.
The fact is consistent with a theory known as the “maturity principle,” which states that personality tends to improve throughout life as we adapt to the growing challenges of work and family responsibilities.
The study reveals that although there is a relatively constant pattern in personality changes, there is great individual variability in these patterns. According to experts, not all people change at the same speed or in the same direction.
Why Do We Change?
As pointed out above, personality is a relatively flexible construct that can be affected by the events that happen to us throughout our lives. Social pressures, a change in the vital role or biological changes can influence our emotional state, our way of being and how not in our personality.
A widespread example is that which happens in people who have suffered very serious or traumatic losses that refer to “not being the same” after that stressful event.
Some other events or life events that are likely to change our personality are:
- Motherhood and Fatherhood
- Death of a close being.
- The menopause
- Adaptation to an entirely different culture.