Description: Whether the year and then some that we have been engaged by the pandemic will result in people’s personalities seeming to have changed once we get to see them and spend time with them face-to-face again is an interesting question. But how about this question. Do you want to be a different sort of person after the pandemic than you were before? Of course, we are wanting to get back to what we did before but are there ways in which we would like to do things differently once our freedom of social engagement and movement returns? Are there parts of your personality you would like to do differently? Is such change possible and if so, how would you go about doing it? Think about this last question for a moment and then have a read through the article linked below to see what research suggests about how you might be able to answer it.
Source: You Can Be a Different Person After the Pandemic, Olga Khazan, The New York Times.
Date: April 6, 2021
If our personality, as assessed by the factors of the Big 5 model for example, is a summary of our social behavior rather than a manifestation of our base character or our genetic make-up then, perhaps, it IS more open to change than we suspect or believe. For many people, having had to step back from social interaction over this past Covid-infected year has provided a bit of perspective on the questions of “how do I want to be and what do I want to do”? The research reported on in the linked article clearly indicate that significant personality change is very possible and can be enacted by deciding to act differently. Purposefully behaving in ways that you would like to have become part of your behavioral repertoire (your personality), in fact, seem to produce exactly those results. As some say, fake it ‘til you make it, actually works. So, make a plan, work out some scripts and get ready to emerge from isolation ready to work on becoming a different person!
Questions for Discussion:
- How flexible are people’s personality prfiles?
- What sorts of things can people do to shift one or more of their personality dimension scores in directions that they want to shift towards?
- Given the research on the changeability of personality discussed in the linked article how would you describe the nature and structure of personality in general?
References (Read Further):
Göllner, R., Damian, R. I., Rose, N., Spengler, M., Trautwein, U., Nagengast, B., & Roberts, B. W. (2017). Is doing your homework associated with becoming more conscientious? Journal of Research in Personality, 71, 1-12. Abstract Link
Roberts, B. W., Luo, J., Briley, D. A., Chow, P. I., Su, R., & Hill, P. L. (2017). A systematic review of personality trait change through intervention. Psychological Bulletin, 143(2), 117. Link
Stieger, M., Flückiger, C., Rüegger, D., Kowatsch, T., Roberts, B. W., & Allemand, M. (2021). Changing personality traits with the help of a digital personality change intervention. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(8). Link
Hudson, N. W., & Fraley, R. C. (2015). Volitional personality trait change: Can people choose to change their personality traits?. Journal of personality and social psychology, 109(3), 490. Link
Roberts, B. W., Walton, K. E., & Viechtbauer, W. (2006). Patterns of mean-level change in personality traits across the life course: a meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Psychological bulletin, 132(1), 1. Link
Allemand, M., & Flückiger, C. (2017). Changing personality traits: Some considerations from psychotherapy process-outcome research for intervention efforts on intentional personality change. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 27(4), 476. Link
Dweck, C. S. (2008). Can personality be changed? The role of beliefs in personality and change. Current directions in psychological science, 17(6), 391-394. Link
Hudson, N. W., Briley, D. A., Chopik, W. J., & Derringer, J. (2019). You have to follow through: Attaining behavioral change goals predicts volitional personality change. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 117(4), 839. Link