May 29, 2024

Key Mechanisms for Changing One’s Personality Uncovered in Research Review

In a recent research review published in the journal Nature Reviews Psychology, psychologists Joshua Jackson from Washington University in St. Louis and Amanda Wright from the University of Zurich have identified four critical mechanisms that play a role in facilitating changes to an individual’s personality, even if they are minor adjustments.

Contrary to the popular belief that personalities are fixed and unchangeable after a certain point in life, the researchers highlight that there are instances where individuals have successfully managed to modify aspects of their personality when motivated to do so. By delving into previous studies, Jackson and Wright have outlined the following four mechanisms that are instrumental in facilitating such changes.

The first mechanism involves preconditions, which are the necessary tools and mindset required to initiate alterations in one’s personality. Subsequently, making adjustments to the living environment constitutes the second mechanism, as it can help eliminate triggers that reinforce previous personality traits. This, in turn, leads to the third mechanism, referred to as reinforcers—these are supportive elements in an individual’s environment that encourage the cultivation of desirable personality traits. Finally, the fourth mechanism involves integrators, which are factors that aid in the continuous maintenance and reinforcement of newly acquired characteristics.

According to the researchers, a crucial aspect of effecting personality changes is the individual’s strong motivation and genuine desire to succeed in this endeavor. They emphasize the importance of having compelling reasons driving the desire for change, as lacking intrinsic motivation can impede progress and increase the likelihood of reverting to old traits.

Furthermore, the researchers underscore the significance of timing in the process of personality transformation. Changes initiated during significant life events such as relocating to a new place, entering into marriage, or starting a family, offer unique opportunities and motivations for individuals to not only instigate changes but also to sustain them over time.

This comprehensive review sheds light on the nuanced and dynamic nature of personality development, challenging the conventional notion of fixed personality traits and highlighting the potential for individuals to actively shape and evolve their own personalities with the right mindset, support systems, and motivations in place

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1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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