This study shows something unexpected about your personality as you age

Most of probably assume that while our outward selves may change over time, our inner-selves — aka, our personalities — remain relatively consistent throughout our lives. However, a recent study found that our personalities can shift greatly over time.

The longest study on personality was recently concluded and published in the Journal of Psychology and Aging. Researchers conducted a personality assessment on a group of 14-year-olds in 1947, and then tracked down as many of the participants as they could to re-take the test 63 years later.

The updated survey asked the now 77-year-olds to rate themselves on the same characteristics as the 1947 survey, and to have someone close to them rate them as well.

Researchers then took the ratings from each survey and translated the results into a single rating for a person’s “dependability.”

"[...] Correlations suggested no significant stability of any of the 6 characteristics or their underlying factor, dependability, over the 63-year interval," the authors wrote in their study.

Long-running personality tests have been done in the past, with thirty or forty years between survey dates. But unlike this new study, these previous tests showed more stability and consistency of personality traits. The longer gap between aging produced surprising results.

"The longer the interval between two assessments of personality, the weaker the relationship between the two tends to be," the researchers wrote. "Our results suggest that, when the interval is increased to as much as 63 years, there is hardly any relationship at all."

Basically, according to science, you may be nothing like you are today in 40 or so years. And while that might seem scary, it also means that we’re all capable of change — so let’s get excited for our future evolved selves!

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