Personality traits woven into our daily lives and are involved in important for life outcomes. How socially, from being an introvert or extrovert to behavioral patterns such as consent and openness can manage our lives but are they standing on the rocks.
Many of these personality traits change gradually throughout our lives as we meet new environments and social settings. We adapt and change, which is how we develop personally. However, it is not yet clear whether these personality traits can influence by and targeted by psychological processes that can quickly cut short-term results.
Now researchers at the universities of Zurich (UZH), St. Gallen, Brandeis, Illinois, and ETH Zurich think they have probably found a way to do it – and can achieve it in just three months. They describe their discoveries in the method of intervening in the transformation of digital personality in the journal PNAS. The researchers created a specialized app called PEACH (PErsonality coACH) as a kind of chatbot digital coach to help study participants reach their desired outcomes by providing their feedback and support.
The researchers looked at the five main personality traits (currently the most widely accepted personality theories by psychologists) – openness, sincerity, sociality (extroversion), discretion (sensitivity) and sensory weakness (neuropathy) – with participants and how use these personality traits has changed. The app handed to more than 1,500 participants in a randomized controlled trial. The app provides daily knowledge and feedback, tips for self-reflection and daily interventions to help users activate behavior and resources. Changes evaluated after participants assigned to use the app for a specified period.
Most participants stated at the beginning of the study that they wanted to reduce their sensory weaknesses and increase their spirituality or increase their extroversion. Participants who participated in the digital intervention for three months or more reported the greatest success in achieving their desired personality trait change compared to a control group of participants who only participated for two months.
One obvious limitation of the study was the reliance on self-reporting, but participants’ friends and family who made an extended report aimed at revealing a personality trait reported noticeable changes in their behavior three months later. The feature change was noticeable even three months after the intervention ended. However, the researchers noted that family and friends of those who wanted to reduce a feature saw some differences.
“Participants and their friends all agreed that three months after the intervention ended, personality changes were maintained using the app,” Matthias Almond, a professor of psychology at UZH, said in a statement. “These amazing results show that we are not only slaves to our personality, but we can deliberately change routine experiences and patterns of behavior.”
The results of the present study challenge this common belief that personality traits are relatively stable and can take a considerable amount of time to change. As the authors, conclude in their survey: “These findings provide the strongest evidence to date that general personality traits can be altered by intervention in non-clinical models.”