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Description: Longitudinal research tells us that personality is reasonably stable over time and that when there are changes, as we age, they tend to be positive changes with us becoming somewhat calmer, more self-confident and socially sensitive with age. Sounds just fine, doesn’t it. But what about this past year? As we pass the one-year anniversary of the Covid pandemic driving our social lives south, think back, if you can, and reflect upon whether your personality is the same today as it was a year ago. Is it the same now as it was a year ago? If not think about why that might be and then have a look through the article linked below to see if your hypotheses match those of the author and if you think your personality is exactly the same I do not believe you but think about how other peoples’ personalities may have changed instead.

Source: How Covid Can Change Your Personality, David Brooks, The New York Times.

Date: April 1, 2021

Photo Credit:  Image by Lucija Rasonja from Pixabay

Article Link:

The linked article is more focused on subjective experience than on personality dimensions, but it does provide some food for reflection. We tend to think of our personality as something that is internally and intrinsically ours. In fact, however, personality is what we extract from our social interactions and while somewhat stable over long-term time it can be quite volatile as we move through different social situations. Further, our personality arises out of our social selves, out of our social interactions and we have had far fewer of those this year and many that we have had have been of a new, not well understood or well calibrated non-face-to-face variety.  If our personality is one of our main tools for social adaptation, then consider this question: How have your adapted over the past year? I suspect that will hold your attention for a bit as you carry out the reflection and as you, perhaps, include your future perspective as well (just HOW are things going to be different later this year? A LOT to think about.

Questions for Discussion:  

  1. In what ways are you the same or different today as compared to who you were 1 year ago?
  2. What sorts of things contributed to those changes do you think?
  3. Like everyone else, you are likely having difficulty even imagining what things will be like is 6 months. How will this affect your personality and what are you planning or looking forward to?

References (Read Further):

Pappas, Stephanie (2017) Personlaity Traits & Personlaity Types: What is Personlaity? Live Science. Link

Roberts, B. W., & DelVecchio, W. F. (2000). The rank-order consistency of personality traits from childhood to old age: a quantitative review of longitudinal studies. Psychological bulletin, 126(1), 3. Link

Kagan, J., Snidman, N., Zentner, M., & Peterson, E. (1999). Infant temperament and anxious symptoms in school age children. Development and psychopathology, 11(2), 209-224. Link

Thompson, R. A., Winer, A. C., & Goodvin, R. (2011). The individual child: Temperament, emotion, self, and personality. In M. H. Bornstein & M. E. Lamb (Eds.), Developmental science: An advanced textbook (p. 427–468). Psychology Press. Link

Damian, R. I., Spengler, M., Sutu, A., & Roberts, B. W. (2019). Sixteen going on sixty-six: A longitudinal study of personality stability and change across 50 years. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 117(3), 674. Link

Zajenkowski, M., Jonason, P. K., Leniarska, M., & Kozakiewicz, Z. (2020). Who complies with the restrictions to reduce the spread of COVID-19?: Personality and perceptions of the COVID-19 situation. Personality and Individual Differences, 166, 110199. Link

Liu, S., Lithopoulos, A., Zhang, C. Q., Garcia-Barrera, M. A., & Rhodes, R. E. (2021). Personality and perceived stress during COVID-19 pandemic: Testing the mediating role of perceived threat and efficacy. Personality and individual differences, 168, 110351. Link

Sutin, A. R., Luchetti, M., Aschwanden, D., Lee, J. H., Sesker, A. A., Strickhouser, J. E., … & Terracciano, A. (2020). Change in five-factor model personality traits during the acute phase of the coronavirus pandemic. PloS one, 15(8), e0237056. Link