Data analysis: These four experiences in life can change the personality forever

Communicative and extroverted, quiet and introverted, bleating grumpy or eternally happy sunshine? Our personality is formed early on, at least that was the assumption so far.

Data analysis: These four experiences in life can change the personality forever

Communicative and extroverted, quiet and introverted, bleating grumpy or eternally happy sunshine? Our personality is formed early on, at least that was the assumption so far. But an international team of researchers believes they have discovered a new approach. To do this, they evaluated the results of the Australian HILDA survey.

HILDA (Household, Income and Labor Dynamics in Australia) is a socio-economic survey of around 7,700 households to investigate the emergence of poverty, the transition to retirement, changes in physical and mental health and the distribution of wealth . The researchers used this large pool of data to answer the question: What influence do major events in life have on personality? Is this inevitable? Or do external experiences influence personality?

To answer the question, the researchers used the "Big Five", i.e. five universal standard models of personality. These include: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion (how far the person is turned outwards. This is where the word extrovert comes from), agreeableness and neuroticism (hence the attribution neurotic, i.e. rather anxious, moody, depressed or irritable). Everyone moves in the spectrum of these five basic personality characteristics. But the research team now thinks that we can change over the course of life.

To do this, they have identified four crucial moments in life that come into question.

1. Financial hardship

The science team found that those who had money problems became more extroverted. But that's not all: conscientiousness was also lost. In addition, financial difficulties made men more emotionally unstable. Women remained emotionally stable.

2. Marriage

According to the experts, a wedding has a major impact on women in particular. The bond of marriage made women more emotionally unstable and less considerate of people. And the men? The researchers could not find any particular changes in them.

3. Illness

A serious illness leaves traces, also on the personality. Such a drastic experience has an enormous impact on women in particular: On average, they became three times more extroverted than men in a similar situation. The illness in the family environment also had an impact on women, and this event also made them more extroverted. Men, on the other hand, do not change this, according to the expert team.

4. Interest

The experts report that the transition from working life to retirement is particularly drastic for men. Because retirement would make men less considerate and less empathetic. So they turn into grumpy old men. Women, on the other hand, seem to be less affected by the pension. The researchers were unable to detect any change in personality.

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