PSYC 2P25 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Conscientiousness, Trait Theory, Extraversion And Introversion

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Chapter 4: Developmental Change and
Stability of Personality
Developmental Changes in Mean Levels of Personality Traits
Longitudinal Research Studies
Assessed the personality trait levels on two or more occasions, often many years or decades
apart
o By finding the average level of a given trait across all members of the group, and then
comparing the average levels as observed at the different time periods, the researchers
can then detect any systematic changes in personality across those segments of the life
span
Self-reports or observer reports
Patterns of Life Span Change: Increasing Maturity?
Based on 90 different studies that show the patterns of developmental change in personality
across the life course [Roberts et al]
Average levels of conscientiousness, emotional stability, and the assertive aspects of
extraversion tend to increase during adolescence, during young adulthood, and during early
middle age
Average levels of the sociable and lively aspects of extraversion showed a slight decrease during
young adulthood and another decrease toward the end of middle age
Openness to experience showed some moderate increases between adolescence and young
adulthood, and then remained stable throughout adulthood before showing a decline during
late middle age
Most people can be said to develop deeper maturity as they grow older
Why do these developmental changes occur?
o Changes are due to biological processes of maturation
o Important events and the changes in social roles that most people experience during
their lives tend to have an influence on their personalities
Stability of Traits across the Years (and the Life Span)
Stability across a Period of Several Years during Adulthood
Costa and McCrae (1988b)
o Sample of 1000 adults [25-84 years old]
o Self-reports on two occasions, 6 years apart
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Document Summary

Developmental changes in mean levels of personality traits. Based on 90 different studies that show the patterns of developmental change in personality across the life course [roberts et al] Average levels of conscientiousness, emotional stability, and the assertive aspects of extraversion tend to increase during adolescence, during young adulthood, and during early middle age. Average levels of the sociable and lively aspects of extraversion showed a slight decrease during young adulthood and another decrease toward the end of middle age. Openness to experience showed some moderate increases between adolescence and young adulthood, and then remained stable throughout adulthood before showing a decline during late middle age. Most people can be said to develop deeper maturity as they grow older. Why do these developmental changes occur: changes are due to biological processes of maturation. Important events and the changes in social roles that most people experience during their lives tend to have an influence on their personalities.

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