March 23, 2008
Childhood Personality Partially Predicts Later Life Stages

These results deal with averages of course. But personality types identifiable in preschool children have lasting effects.

Participants consisted of 230 children who were studied every year from their first or second year in preschool until age 12. After age 12, the sample was reassessed twice, at ages 17 and 23. Researchers led by Jaap Denissen of Humboldt-University Berlin assessed degrees of shyness and aggressiveness through parental scales and teacher reports.

Denissen tested the hypotheses on the predictive validity of three major preschool personality types. Resilient personality is characterized by above average emotional stability, IQ, and academic achievement. Overcontrol is characterized by low scores on extraversion, emotional stability, and self-esteem. Undercontrol is characterized by low scores on emotional stability and agreeableness and high scores on aggressive behavior.

The 19-year longitudinal study illustrated that childhood personality types were meaningfully associated with the timing of the transitions. Resilient males were found to leave their parentsí house approximately one year earlier than overcontrolled or undercontrolled children. Overcontrolled boys took more than a year longer than others in finding a romantic partner. Resilient boys and girls were faster in getting a part-time job than their overcontrolled and undercontrolled peers.

Okay, when offspring genetic engineering becomes possible will prospective parents opt to give their kids genetic variations that make them resilient personalities or maybe undercontrolled or overcontrolled? I'm expecting parents to boost the IQ of their kids. But will they go too far in giving the kids extraversion or perhaps make them too emotionally controlled?

Share |      Randall Parker, 2008 March 23 10:23 PM  Brain Development

Lawrence said at March 24, 2008 11:10 AM:

I wonder if this study was controlled for birth order? Birth order relates to many aspects of personality. First born children have particular advantages at early ages that could well translate into more successes in life as adults.

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