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.