Feel like you’re not the person you used to be? You’re probably right. The longest-running personality study ever conducted reveals that people change so dramatically as the years go by that they often bear little resemblance to their younger selves.
In 1950, researchers asked teachers to assess specific personality traits of 1,208 14-year-old students, including their self-confidence, originality, perseverance, conscientiousness, stability of moods, and desire to excel. In 2012, 174 of the original students agreed to participate in a second evaluation. Now in their 70s, they completed cognitive tests and answered detailed questionnaires, rating themselves on the same characteristics. They also had a close friend or relative evaluate their personality.
After comparing the results, the researchers found no correlation between the participants’ current personality and who they were as teenagers, HuffingtonPost.com reports. “Personality changes only gradually throughout life, but by older age it may be quite different from personality in childhood,” the authors say, noting that genetic and environmental factors likely influence how personalities evolve over time.