Your Personality Does Not Care Whether You Believe It Can Change: Beliefs About Whether Personality Can Change Do Not Predict Trait Change Among Emerging Adults

Nathan W. Hudson, R. Chris Fraley, Daniel A. Briley, William J. Chopik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Theorists have suggested that beliefs about whether personality can change might operate in a self-fulfilling fashion, leading to growth in personality traits across time. In the present two studies, we collected intensive longitudinal data from a total of 1339 emerging adults (ns = 254 and 1085) and examined the extent to which both global beliefs that personality can change (e.g. ‘You can change even your most basic qualities’) and granular beliefs that the individual Big Five personality domains can change (e.g. ‘You can change how extraverted and enthusiastic you generally are’) predicted trait change across approximately 4 months. Results indicated that traits did change across time, yet beliefs that personality can change were almost completely unrelated to actual change in personality traits. Our findings suggest that personality development during emerging adulthood does not depend to any meaningful degree on whether or not individuals believe that their traits can change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEuropean Journal of Personality
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • adult personality development
  • entity vs. incremental orientation
  • fixed vs. growth mindsets
  • implicit theories of personality
  • personality mindsets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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