Ep 164: How to Modify a Personality


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It’s hard to think of a group that gets labelled more than teenagers. Whether we declare them slackers, class clowns, popular kids or outcasts, it can be easy to put them in boxes based on their personalities! But have you ever considered that personalities aren’t as constant as you might think? Maybe teens’ personalities change with time as they grow or fluctuate depending on who they’re with or where they are. They might even have the power to intentionally change their own personalities if they put their minds to it.

The debate over whether human personality is stable or fluid is one that reaches back through the history of psychology. Some scientists in the past believed that our personalities were set in stone by age thirty, while others believe there’s no such thing as a set personality at all! Are our personalities decided at birth, or are they decided by the events of our lives? Do we have a role in choosing our own personality or is it something that just happens to us?

These are the kinds of questions we’re asking Christian Jarrett this week. He’s been a leading cognitive neuroscientist for two decades with work featured on the BBC, in Vice, Guardian, GQ and more! His book, Be Who You Want: Unlocking the Science of Personality Change, tackles commonly asked questions we all have about defining our personalities and changing ourselves for the better. He’s here to cover some of the most interesting points and give advice for parents of teens with rapidly changing personalities.

In our interview, Christian explains why teens are especially vulnerable to personality change! We’re also covering the effects of social situations on teens’ personalities, and how you can help your teen use certain techniques to actively work towards being the person they want to be.

Click for full show notes, exercises, and parenting scripts from this episode

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