Say you’re the teacher of a fourth grade elementary class. The class consists of about forty kids, each with different personalities and characteristics that make them extremely unique. Throughout the school year you learn more about each kid. How they do in social situations? Who is the hard worker, or leader? Through observation you identify the more optimistic students compared to the pessimistic ones. Or introverted compared to extroverted. These are all different dispositional traits that you have noticed through the students in your class. Now, what if I were to tell you that these dispositional traits could play a huge role on your student’s longevity? This is a question that psychologists have been mulling over for quite some time. Could longevity be affected by more than just your biological makeup, or the lifestyle that you choose to adopt? Could these somewhat innate dispositional traits play a bigger role on life expectancy than people think? The study that I will be going over dives deeply into this question and hopefully comes up with good enough evidence to support or negate the claim that childhood personality does indeed affect and predict longevity.
Before we dive right into this experiment I would like to explain the basis of the study. Since were studying longevity, psychologists needed to use a longitudinal study in order to keep testing and gathering data of the participants at different points in their lives. For 70 years psychologists ran consecutive tests on 1,178 mixed gendered subjects, all starting at the age between 5 to 10 years old. This study is not only famous for its results but also the nature of the experiment, claiming to have gathered some of the most psychosocial information over a human’s possible lifetime (Friedman, Tucker, Tomlinson-Keasey, Schwartz & Wingard, 1993).
When designing this study psychologist aimed at diagnosing children under six different personality...