Poster Presentation 6th World Congress on Positive Psychology 2019

The Relationship Between Actual And Perceived Changes In Personality Over The Life Span And The Role Of Social Expectations. (#589)

Joanna Gutral 1 , Marzena Cypryańska 1 , John B Nezlek 2 3
  1. SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Warsaw, Poland
  2. SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Poznań, Poland
  3. William and Mary College, Williamsburg, VA, USA

The aim of this research is to verify how people perceive changes in personality across the lifespan and how does it correspond to the actual changes in personality measured in longitudinal studies (e.g. Damian et al., 2018). With age people become more agreeable, conscientious, and emotionally stable whereas  extraversion and openness to new experience is expected to decrease over time (Roberts, Walton, & Viechtbauer, 2006).

In this study participants (N=83) were asked to assess using a 7 point scale the extent to which a given Big Five personality trait describe people in the following age ranges: up to 10 years old, 18-24, 24-30, 30-40, 40-50, 50-60, 60-70, 70+. Results of one-way ANOVA with repeated measures showed that pattern of perceived personality changes was parallel to actual changes reported in longitudinal studies on personality mentioned above.

Researchers has suggested that changes in personality over the life span can be explained by “maturity principle” (e.g. Roberts & Woods, 2006). According to this I will discuss role of widely shared social expectations (Heillwell, Burns, Biswas-Diener et al., 2013) in the perception of past and future changes in personality traits over the lifespan.