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Do you think people retain their personality until they die?Do you think that...

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figlover | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted April 14, 2010 at 8:28 PM via web

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Do you think people retain their personality until they die?

Do you think that personality changes as you grow up?

 Or does it just seem like it changed?

Or it never changes, and the very basic traits remains you.

Let me be more specifici.

If a person is when young, do you think that one will remain clumsy or can he/she change through constant discipline and effort.

Or if one were really aggressive and belligerent when young, but as he/she ages, a milder disposition emerges. Do you think that this change will be maintained in extreme cases?

If you think it is possible, give a concrete evidence that it is true. So with the opposing views.

24 Answers | Add Yours

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 14, 2010 at 9:04 PM (Answer #2)

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I think clumsy doesn't go with personality and can totally change.

As far as actual personality, I think I have surely changed as I have grown up.  It's not like the parts of my personality are gone, but they are certainly less obvious than they used to be.

When I got married at age 20 I was way more likely to get upset if things did not go my way.  Now 20 years later I do not get mad or pouty about little stuff.

But I am still basically the same person -- I have not changed from being easy-going to being very uptight or anything.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 15, 2010 at 6:25 AM (Answer #3)

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I agree with post #2.  Clumsy, graceful, can't dance or swim is not part of your personality.  These are skills that you can learn or not, but everyone can do that if they choose to do so.

Aspects of personality include shyness, introverted, extroverted, or fears that you may have, etc.  Of course, these can be learned or un-learned, but it is part your makeup, so it's harder to change or alter.  Lots of people turn to hypnosis to help with fears (flying, small spaces, dogs, clowns, public speaking, etc.).

You can learn to change if you really want to...I think of addictions, here, too.  In order to really change something you don't like (fears, addictions, abuse situations, etc.) you must WANT for the change to occur.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 15, 2010 at 3:47 PM (Answer #4)

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Personalities change thoughout many people's lives. Gregarious youth does not always last forever, and many people who are happy and outgoing when they are young change as they grow older. Of course, this can also work in reverse. Many things can contribute to the change: financial problems, personal loss, and poor health, among others.

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lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted April 15, 2010 at 3:57 PM (Answer #5)

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I believe that our personality is molded around our life experiences. As the above poster has stated many things can contribute to your evolving personality. I do however feel that we have a general disposition that our personality conforms around.

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besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted April 15, 2010 at 4:11 PM (Answer #6)

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I do think that personality can change as a person ages. As we get older we learn from our experiences. Life makes us stronger, wiser, and in some cases more laid back.

I do think that personalities can change in a negative way as well. Life experiences are not always pleasant ones.

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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted April 15, 2010 at 10:41 PM (Answer #7)

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There are areas of our lives where we may grow and develop, and others where we may retain early attitudes and perhaps prejudices. Our education often shapes our personality: we can learn to overcome some traits of early development but often we have control over the personality we have. We choose how we accept events - good or bad - and how we deal with the consequences of them. There is a fundemental core of us - perhaps we can call it personailty - which causes us to react to change in the ways which make us an individual.

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stella-lily-rothe | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted April 16, 2010 at 2:29 AM (Answer #8)

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I believe that a person will generally always retain a basic sense of self and basic personality traits.  However, every year - every month, even! - new events, experiences, exposures, revelations, etc. occur that alter us.  I don't think that many people can entirely change, and I think that most of us will remain basically the same, but with improvements (or, in some sad cases, a devolution of character).  I am only 23, and my childhood memories begin around age 3.  I have expanded my thoughts and, in many cases, changed entirely on certainissues and traits.  Overall, however, I have remained the same ME as I was 20 years ago.  I hope that in 20 more years I will be more knowledgeable and gain new qualities, but I want to retain that deep part of myself that defines me.  We all have that certain something that never changes. 

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 16, 2010 at 7:39 AM (Answer #9)

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Yes, but not completely.  Brain and body chemistry affects personality a lot, as does daily habits and interactions.  All of these things change significantly by the time we reach old age.  While basic personality traits usually remain, they may not be as obvious, or as recognizable as they once were.

There are also some who undergo a complete personality change due to the loss of spouse or family and friends to old age, financial hardships or medical problems are more likely, and people have less energy and mental capacity.

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ericgyoung | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted April 16, 2010 at 10:30 AM (Answer #10)

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I believe that our personalities are "informed" by the experiences we encounter as we age, which some might refer to as "wisdom" in an older person, right?  I say "informed," however, because I do believe there are certain biological constraints on the ability to fully change one's personality over time.  For example, a child may be born with a condition that makes it more likely that he will develop, say, bipolar disorder later in life.  If bipolar does develop, one cannot truthfully say that the man's personality "changed;" rather, he was predisposed to that result from the beginning.

As I was reading your question, I found myself thinking of a subject near and dear to my profession.  Is a person born with basic ethical traits - i.e., basic ability to know right from wrong.  How about the ability to empathize with another human being?  Can either of these qualities be taught over time the way we teach good manners or algebra?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 16, 2010 at 10:41 AM (Answer #11)

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How amazing it is to watch babies and observe the personality traits of their parents!  Certainly these observations give strong argument for heredity; however, there is also little question that other factors, such as environment and personal experiences influence one's personality.  For instance, a very shy person may become extroverted after having had successes and positive relationships with others.  Exposure to violence has certainly affected some people's personalities, also.

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maadhav19 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted April 17, 2010 at 11:14 AM (Answer #12)

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Along the lines of neurophysiology changing as we age, I'd have to say that we don't necessarily keep the same personalities as we grow older. In many cases, yes: we grow in experience and add to the layers of our personality. But in cases of dementia such as Alzheimer's, mood changes and erratic sensory and memory functioning means that in practical terms, prsonalities do change. One can become hostile or suspicious as a result of confusion brought on by dementia. My argument is that this is a departure fro the core personality one has built up throughout life's experiences because changing perceptions of the environemnt, as well as changes in emotional regulation, mean that the ways one responds to the world change - in effect, a change in personality.

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lfawley | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted April 18, 2010 at 2:47 PM (Answer #13)

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Personalities definitely change as we go through our lives. They are the result of all that we experience, all that we learn, and even the attachments that we form with the people we meet along the way. We are born, perhaps, with some tendencies but most of who we are is shaped by what we learn from our parents, our friends, our schools, our jobs, our relationships, and a plethora of other factors.

As to the concept of good and evil, I do feel that some people cannot help but do the evil things that they do. For instance, a person may be born with traits that make him or her a psychopath, a schizophrenic, or any of a number of other issues that could lead that person to do bad things. However, I am not sure that we can actually call these personality traits as such. More, they are mental defects.

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nusratfarah | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted April 19, 2010 at 12:16 PM (Answer #14)

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Personality is consisted of traits, habits and style. As one get aged, his or her personality also gets changed more or less. That's because, one's practices and habits change more or less even if style remains the same.

But I would argue with post 2 saying that inepts also can be changed often, and there are practical examples too. I myself have some personal experiences.

So, I'd say, personality changes with the course of time.

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cleghornj | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 20, 2010 at 6:31 AM (Answer #15)

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I believe that our personality is molded around our life experiences that have been taught to you and there is many types of personalities that some can change by the people we hang out with and our family has to do alot with it it is all in our geanes
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figlover | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted April 22, 2010 at 8:43 PM (Answer #16)

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Sorry guys.

Let me be more specific about the question

I will give you an example.

A man raped a girl because he could not resist his lust. After prisonment, he repented greatly and attended church everyday. Basically, he has done everything he can think of to compensate to the girl.

Does this mean that he changed?

Can we truly trust such change and believe that the man has reborned?

Is it clear?? TT

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 23, 2010 at 7:59 AM (Answer #17)

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No way.  In college I used to be an INFJ, an "Introverted, Intituitive, Judger, Feeler," according to a personality test.  When I began working, I came out of my shell and shifted to an "E," an Extrovert.  Though, those test results can change on a whim.

As a believer in existentialism (yes, I really am), I think that a person can and must change, daily if need be, such is the freedom I think we possess.  I whole-heartedly refute the idea that we are fixed in terms of an essence, personality, role, status, soul, or human nature.

We are all free agents.  I can be a student one day and kill the king the next.  Read Hamlet.

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figlover | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted April 24, 2010 at 4:35 AM (Answer #18)

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No way.  In college I used to be an INFJ, an "Introverted, Intituitive, Judger, Feeler," according to a personality test.  When I began working, I came out of my shell and shifted to an "E," an Extrovert.  Though, those test results can change on a whim.

As a believer in existentialism (yes, I really am), I think that a person can and must change, daily if need be, such is the freedom I think we possess.  I whole-heartedly refute the idea that we are fixed in terms of an essence, personality, role, status, soul, or human nature.

We are all free agents.  I can be a student one day and kill the king the next.  Read Hamlet.

I don't think Hamlet suits here.

Superficially, Hamlet is hesitates about killing the king but eventually does kill him. But the reason why he hesitates is not because he is afraid of mudering someone or he is just too kind. It's becaue of he sees himself inside the king that both wants the queen. That's why he can't kill the king.

I think Hamlet is irrelevant.

Anyway thanks for your reply

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ako6777 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted April 27, 2010 at 3:37 PM (Answer #19)

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I believe peoples personality develops an the individual develops.  We learn so many lessons in our lives it would be impossible not to change as we aged.  There are also diseases that can change a person's personality.  Alzheimer's can distort a personality, as can mental illness. 

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 12, 2010 at 7:44 AM (Answer #20)

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I do believe that your genetic and biological make up might make you more prone to develop certain traits of behavior and mannerisms that remain with you for the rest of your life. However, these inherited traits can always be altered by external input. For example, a person who is cheery, peppy and happy can go through some life changing events that could definitely dim their inner light, and eventually change them altogether. I know this, because I have been there myself. People can and do change.

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 14, 2010 at 6:09 AM (Answer #21)

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In college I was very much on the side of "nurture" over "nature" when it came to behavior.  I thought through the right series of consequences (natural or applied) anyone could be made to change a behavior, and therefore, personality.  I looked at myself largely as a product of my environment.  I was a little bit of my parents, a little bit of my experiences, a little bit of the people I was hanging out with the most (which was changing all the time)...

Then I had children.

I'm still a firm believer that consequences (natural or applied) can alter behavior.  However, I'm also much closer to the side of "nature" over "nurture" when it comes to personality.  The personality that my daughter showed at possibly even less than three months old, is still largely the personality she is showing now at 3.  We didn't realize it, of course, at 3 months.  But with our 2nd child, we started to become more aware of the behavioral clues shown in infancy that would likely one day lead to very clear personality traits.

Can't say I'm an expert.  I only have 2 kids under the age of 3.  Behavior can be altered, sure, but I don't think personality is determined by environment.

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persephone | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 14, 2010 at 6:16 PM (Answer #22)

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Personality is determined by three factors: Heredity, environment, and situation. While a person's heredity undoubtably effects their personality, so do later occurences.

Men and women have returned from wars or other traumatic experiences much changed from when they left. I believe it is indisputable that a person's personality can alter based on experiences.

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petekinnaman12 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 21, 2010 at 6:30 PM (Answer #23)

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Do you think people retain their personality until they die?

Do you think that personality changes as you grow up?

 Or does it just seem like it changed?

Or it never changes, and the very basic traits remains you.

Let me be more specifici.

If a person is when young, do you think that one will remain clumsy or can he/she change through constant discipline and effort.

Or if one were really aggressive and belligerent when young, but as he/she ages, a milder disposition emerges. Do you think that this change will be maintained in extreme cases?

If you think it is possible, give a concrete evidence that it is true. So with the opposing views.

  This is an essential question that drives the study of Psychology...countless studies have been done in multiple domains in effort to answer this simple question.  Find any survey text and this will be addressed in the fist chapters.  Also examine the work of Erik Erikson and his theorry of development through life stages.  The simple answer to your question lies in asking another complex question: how much are we influenced by our environment in contrast to what is imprinted on us genetically.

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dano7744 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted May 27, 2010 at 10:20 AM (Answer #24)

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I think someones basic personality traits remain until death but I also believe that as you age you "mellow" out a little. For most of us this is a good thing. Life's trials and tribulations shape your thinking for the better, you may change a little, but your underlying personality remains the same.  

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zyvett | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 1, 2010 at 6:14 PM (Answer #25)

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Do you think people retain their personality until they die?

Do you think that personality changes as you grow up?

 Or does it just seem like it changed?

Or it never changes, and the very basic traits remains you.

Let me be more specifici.

If a person is when young, do you think that one will remain clumsy or can he/she change through constant discipline and effort.

Or if one were really aggressive and belligerent when young, but as he/she ages, a milder disposition emerges. Do you think that this change will be maintained in extreme cases?

If you think it is possible, give a concrete evidence that it is true. So with the opposing views.

I certainly think that personalities can change over time. Situations and circumstances in life teach us how to react, if we pay attention. If you are mean or aggressive and things don't seem to go your way, or you find that you don't have a lot of friends, you may start to look at how you approach people. The reverse is also true. If people tend to walk over you because you are too mild-mannered, you should see if there is something you can do to change.

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