How Do Traits Change Over Time?

Post your response to the following: How do traits change over time?

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Well, I can give a specific example of how traits might change over time. Say a person is brought up by parents who ascribe to the anxious attachment style. Let’s also say that this young person develops neurotic tendencies as a child and adolescent. As this person enters young adulthood they might start to move away from neurotic tendencies as a result of social conformity. This person might utilize the mechanism of observational learning in order to affect their level of self-efficacy and self-esteem. They could observe the behavior of their spouse, co-workers, or close friends and develop new patterns of thinking that do not involve high levels of anxiety. This is just one example, but I think it shows how traits could change over time.

How do traits stay the same from infancy through adulthood?

Infant temperance has a lot to do with adult personality traits. Certainly, some children are predisposed to certain types of personality traits, such as extroversion or maybe certain attachment styles which may lead to neuroticism. I do not think that it is that these intrinsic temperaments cannot be overcome but that they definitely draw boundaries for which we cannot escape without an act of the will. That partially explains why traits remain relatively stable in some people, in some circumstances. It also explains why some traits are not as stable.

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McAdams, D.P. (2006). The person: A new introduction to personality psychology. Danvers, MA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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