Essay Question: Can someone’s personality change throughout their life?
Your cousin recently had a baby boy, and you can’t help but wonder how he is going to develop and what he will be like as he gets older. You know your aunt subscribes to the old adage ‘like father, like son’, and you recently read a quote from the psychological researcher’s Costa and McCrae who said that personality is ‘set in plaster’ after a certain age. However, you feel a little skeptical of such black and white statements and think it might be a little more interesting and complicated than they suggest. You’ve recently heard about attachment theory and John Bowlby’s notion of Internal Working Models, and you start wondering about what personality is and whether it can change, as well as what the impact of our early life experiences might be.
You have heard that the search engine “Google Scholar” is one way to look for peer-reviewed articles and may help to answer your question so you start searching.
Can someone’s personality change throughout their life? In answering this question you must provide support for your argument, and this must include empirical research studies and/or reference to theoretical models of personality development. Also, be sure to consider how the theoretical orientation of the researcher influences their assessment of whether or not personality can change. In your answer, cite at least four research articles that support your position, and challenge and critique at least one study’s findings which are contrary to the position you have taken.
Sroufe, L. A. (2005). Attachment and development: A prospective, longitudinal study from birth to adulthood. Attachment & human development, 7(4), 349-367.
Costa Jr, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1994). Set like plaster? Evidence for the stability of adult personality. In Heatherton, Weinberger (Eds);. Can personality change? , (pp. 21-40). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association.
McIlwain, D. (2008). Cascading constraints: the role of early developmental deficits in the formation of personality styles. In S. Boag (Ed.) Personality down under: perspectives from Australia (pp.61-80). New York: Nova Science Publishers Inc.
Karen, R. (1990). Becoming attached. The Atlantic Monthly, 265(2), 35-70.
Heatherton, T. F., & Nichols, P. A. (1994). Conceptual issues in assessing whether personality can change. In Heatherton, Weinberger (Eds);. Can personality change? , (pp. 21-40). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association.
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