Thursday, August 5, 2010

You are who you are

A recent study says "Personality traits observed in childhood are a strong predictor of adult behavior." 

Yup. You are who you are, and you just get more of it as you age. From a group of 2400 kids studied in the 1960s, they found 144 of them 40 years later and found that:
Youngsters identified as verbally fluent – defined as unrestrained talkativeness – tended, as middle-aged adults, to display interest in intellectual matters, speak fluently, try to control the situation, and exhibit a high degree of intelligence. Children rated low in verbal fluency by their teachers were observed as adults to seek advice, give up when faced with obstacles, and exhibit an awkward interpersonal style.
Children rated as highly adaptable – defined as coping easily and successfully with new situations – tended, as middle-aged adults, to behave cheerfully, speak fluently and show interest in intellectual matters. Those who rated low in adaptability as children were observed as adults to say negative things about themselves, seek advice and exhibit an awkward interpersonal style.
Students rated as impulsive as adults were inclined to speak loudly, display a wide range of interests and be talkative. Those who were rated low on impulsivity were observed, as adults, to be fearful or timid, keep others at a distance and express insecurity.
Children whose teachers rated them as having a tendency to self-minimize – defined as humble, minimizing their own importance or never showing off – as adults were likely to express guilt, seek reassurance, say negative things about themselves and express insecurity. Those who were ranked low as self-minimizing were observed as adults to speak loudly, show interest in intellectual matters and exhibit condescending behavior.
This fits in so well with other studies showing perseverance of personality traits and political orientation.

So you can look around your classroom of 4 year olds and tell which ones you would like to be friends with 40 years later. 

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