Do people know how they've changed? A longitudinal investigation of volitional personality change and participants’ retrospective perceptions thereof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Prior research has found that most people want to change their personalities. Moreover, these change goals predict trait growth. The present study extended this by examining both actual change in self-report traits and people's perceptions of how they have changed across 16 weeks. Results indicated moderate alignment between trait growth and perceived change (average r = 0.49)—with 39% of responses indicating perceived changes in the opposite direction of trait growth. Moreover, change goals predicted trait growth holding perceptions constant, and both trait growth and perceptions independently predicted well-being. These data elucidate how people perceive the process of volitional change. Moreover, these data suggest people change in desired ways, even if they do not perceive those changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103879
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
Volume83
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2019

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Personality
Growth
Self Report
Research

Keywords

  • Adult personality development
  • Change goals
  • Perceived change
  • Subjective well-being
  • Volitional personality change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

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title = "Do people know how they've changed? A longitudinal investigation of volitional personality change and participants’ retrospective perceptions thereof",
abstract = "Prior research has found that most people want to change their personalities. Moreover, these change goals predict trait growth. The present study extended this by examining both actual change in self-report traits and people's perceptions of how they have changed across 16 weeks. Results indicated moderate alignment between trait growth and perceived change (average r = 0.49)—with 39{\%} of responses indicating perceived changes in the opposite direction of trait growth. Moreover, change goals predicted trait growth holding perceptions constant, and both trait growth and perceptions independently predicted well-being. These data elucidate how people perceive the process of volitional change. Moreover, these data suggest people change in desired ways, even if they do not perceive those changes.",
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AB - Prior research has found that most people want to change their personalities. Moreover, these change goals predict trait growth. The present study extended this by examining both actual change in self-report traits and people's perceptions of how they have changed across 16 weeks. Results indicated moderate alignment between trait growth and perceived change (average r = 0.49)—with 39% of responses indicating perceived changes in the opposite direction of trait growth. Moreover, change goals predicted trait growth holding perceptions constant, and both trait growth and perceptions independently predicted well-being. These data elucidate how people perceive the process of volitional change. Moreover, these data suggest people change in desired ways, even if they do not perceive those changes.

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