Research Methods Term Paper

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The Effect of a Change in Ego on a Person’s Personality Traits Bethany R. Fenn
Psychology 2820E, Western University
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Abstract
The purpose of this brief study was to evaluate if a significant experience not only changes a person's perspective on life (sense of self) but the actual traits and characteristics that make up an individual’s true personality. The Personality Development Survey measured the personality fluctuations of 12 male participants, and 12 female participants, over the different stages of their life (childhood, adolescence, and adulthood), who are residing in the city of Windsor, Ontario. The survey was conducted at a Zehrs grocery store in Windsor. The present study found that undergoing a drastic change or experience is unlikely to cause fluctuations in personality characteristics. The results suggest that a true concept of personality change still has not been completely discovered, even though a person's self-identity may be subject to change when they undergo new life experiences.

The Effect of a Change in Ego on a Person’s Personality Trait
Over the course of a person’s life time they will undergo rough emotional times, childhood fads such as a change in interests or wardrobe, and even a change in peers. Research such as Erik Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial stages has found that a person’s ego or self-identity is always changing due to new life experiences (Eagle, 1997). As our ego is seen as our sense of self, people also exhibit definite traits from when they are an infant that make up a persons personality. These traits contribute to habitual patterns of behaviour, thought and emotion. The purpose of this study was to evaluate if a significant experience not only changes a person's perspective on life (sense of self) but the actual traits and characteristics that make up an individual’s true personality.

Personality change is a widely controversial topic. Many different past attempts and approaches have been taken to understand if it is possible that a person’s traits can significantly change. Carl Rogers developed a humanistic approach (1989), he believed change was possible through constructive therapy. He emphasized without a relationship and the certain conditions to be met within the relationship change was not possible and that it was because of those definable conditions that definable change proceeds. He suggested that individuals can adjust their life styles and self-dignity to meet the circumstances they currently are living in with the help of a therapeutic relationship. Roger's Humanistic approach shows support for the idea that a person's perspective of life and self- identity is interchangeable. In this study the focus is on whether or not an experience that affects a person's self-identity can change a person's personality traits.

Another classical article exploring the idea of personality and self- identity change was Dreger’s article, on how far social change can change a personality (1966), which opposed the idea that a relationship can change an individual’s personality. Dreger states that alleged personality change due to dramatic social forces may be superficial because social forces when we are young may not be as influencing when we are older. A person may be able to feel differently about their selves, they may even associate their selves with different kinds of people but that does not necessarily mean that they no longer possess the same characteristics that they possessed as a child.

Marcel et al developed a study testing middle aged adults to reflect if change in the Big Five Personality factors had taken place because of new middle life concerns and the added responsibility of parenting (2006). The results reflected that large amounts of stability were found. The study concluded that personality may simply mature to increase our life satisfaction because as adults we experience different responsibilities...
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