Posted by & filed under Child Development, General Psychology, Human Development, Personality, Social Psychology, The Self.

Description: Ok, if you had to bet where would you put your money? On a claim stating that personality is the result of inborn influences such as temperament or on a claim that personality is the result of who you hung around with as a child? Once you have thought it through and made your bet read the article linked below to see what the research it talks about has to say.

Source: Personality traits ‘contagious’ among children, Jennifer Watling Neal, Emily Durbin, and Andy Henion, Psychology and Psychiatry, The Medical Express.

Date: February 3, 2017

Photo Credit:  Michigan State University

Links:  Article Link —

So were you surprised? Of course things like temperament play a strong role in personality traits but the researchers found that children tended to take in some of the traits of the friends they hung around with in and out of school. There were exceptions, however as some negative traits such as anxiousness or tendency toward frustration were not picked up through mere proximity. The use of the term ‘contagious’ is interesting. It may well be descriptive if it turns out that patterns of behavior are, in fact, catchable. However, what remains is the development of a developmental model that explains how the observed social influences on personality come about.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What sorts of individual qualities or influences are thought to form children’s personalities?
  2. What do the researchers suggest about social contacts and personality?
  3. What might a possible causal explanation for the reported results involve?

References (Read Further):

Neal, Jennifer Watling; Durbin, C. Emily; Gornik, Allison E.; Lo, Sharon L. (2017) Codevelopment of Preschoolers’ Temperament Traits and Social Play Networks Over an Entire School Year. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Feb 02 , 2017, No Pagination Specified.

Wrzus, C., & Neyer, F. J. (2016). Co-development of personality and friendships across the lifespan: An empirical review on selection and socialization. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Lenkiewicz, K., Srebnicki, T., & Bryńska, A. (2016). Mechanisms shaping the development of personality and personality disorders in children and adolescents. Psychiatria Polska, 50(3), 621-629.