Sunday, February 21, 2010

Psychology of Personality

Making conclusions on the development of personality is an extremely time consuming process. Jack Block, a psychologist of personality, studied a group of three year olds, documenting observations on them as they moved from childhood into adulthood. Block wanted to figure what makes people turn out as they do, and to what extend can adult personality be predicted by childhood temperament. The study that he began with the group of children lasted beyond his lifetime and is now being continued by UCSC.

One of the larger findings of his study is that subjects who seemed thin-skinned, and vulnerable tended at 23 to be political conservatives. Three year olds that were energetic and dominating were inclined to become liberals.

In a study with Jack Block, researchers we able to compare children from parents that stayed together, and children with parents who later divorced. Until this study, research had shown how tough divorce is on boys, this study showed that up to eight years before the divorce, boys in the families that divorced were difficult, and anti-social. Which made researchers consider the impact of raising a difficult child on divorce rates.

It seems incredible how much time it can take to make solid insights on personality development. And how concepts that were assumed to be true, like the effect of divorce on children, are misleading. Jack Block's extensive research on the subject, shows just how long it takes to retrieve the information that we find in our text books.

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