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Hey everyone, I’m Erik Thor, an expert on using personality psychology for flow and personal development.

How Much Your Personality Can Change

Can your personality type change?

Yes

Studies show that changing careers, starting a new relationship, or moving to a new country can have a 15-25% impact on one’s personality.

No

Studies show that most people maintain the same personality, and significant changes are rare.

The Nature vs Nurture debate is dead.

Geneticists would often argue that your DNA determines your outcome, personality, and how successful you would become.

Social psychologists and sociologists would argue that culture, education, and social factors are crucial to your success.

This debate has now died, and most psychologists have moved on.

The Not So Blank Slate

Today, we know that everyone has a natural or genetic background. Think of it as a bag of experiences passed on from your ancestors to you. Even infants have a primary personality or character. Perhaps you were already born an INfj or an EStj.

The Problem with Twin Studies

Studies on twins were historically used to argue that Genetics was the sole factor in your development and that parenting did not impact how a person grew up.

Today, these studies have been heavily disputed, and we now recognize that social conditions have a considerable significance on your development.

Neuroplasticity

We also know that DNA or genes react to our environment and can be turned on or off depending on our context. There is no psychopath gene, but there are specific genes that can activate as a defense when a child is raised in a traumatic environment, driving a person to become a psychopath.

Nature

Nature is a set of pre-programmed variables that can drive a person to respond in a certain way to a particular situation. Think of it as a predisposition.

Nurture

Your environment can influence your development, sending specific signals to your brain to act or respond in a certain way.

There is no Introverted or Extroverted gene, but a set of genes that, under certain environmental conditions, will cause one to develop to become more introverted or extroverted.

How much can your personality change?

From INFP to ESTJ

An INFP scoring 90th percentile in all four scales can’t become an Extroverted, Sensing, Thinking or Judging type.

From ENfp to ENtj

An ENfp scoring 90th percentile in Extroversion and iNtuition can’t become an Introvert or a Sensing type, but can become a moderate thinking and judging personality type.

From isTP to ISTP

An isTP who used to have a moderate preference for Introversion and Sensing might become more introverted and sensing over time.

What can cause your personality to change?

New partner

Starting your first new relationship can significantly change your personality, and people tend to become more like their partner over time.

Moving countries

Moving to a new country can drive you to change in considerable ways, most becoming more extroverted and more intuitive.

Having a child

Having a baby can make a person more strong in Feeling and Perceiving.

Impact of having a child on personality

Source: https://escholarship.org/uc/item/92m587fd

Life change and personality

Source: https://escholarship.org/uc/item/92m587fd

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