- Medicine - 13:00 Depression in pregnancy increases risk of mental health problems in children
- Social Sciences - Sep 26 Children overeagerly seeking social rules
- Psychology - Sep 26 It’s the start of the university term - who will be best at making friends?
- Medicine - Sep 21 New global initiative will engage 30 cities by 2030 to close the mental health gap
- Psychology - Sep 20 Low English skills at school start linked to behavioural difficulties
- Medicine - Sep 13 Increased focus on the mental health of young obesity surgery patients
- Medicine - Sep 12 Could quality of sleep have to do with sex differences?
- Psychology - Sep 8 Older people offer resource that children need, Stanford report says
- Medicine - Aug 30 Probing Question: Can Combat PTSD be cured?
- Pedagogy - Aug 25 University of Sussex Rudd Centre set to host adoption symposium
- Medicine - Aug 25 Women's Mental Health 2016 Youth Award Winners interview researchers in the Section of Women's Mental Health
- Mathematics - Aug 20 Three Scientific Tips for Going Back-to- School
- Psychology - Aug 19 Have we misunderstood post- traumatic stress disorder?
- Psychology - Aug 18 Designing better ways to let go of digital memories than ‘delete’
- Psychology - Aug 17 Study discerns elements of successful diversity training
- Medicine - Aug 10 Smoking greatly reduces life expectancy for those with serious mental illness
Enhancing cognition in older adults also changes personality
CHAMPAIGN, lll. -- A program designed to boost cognition in older adults also increased their openness to new experiences, researchers report, demonstrating for the first time that a non-drug intervention in older adults can change a personality trait once thought to be fixed throughout the lifespan.
Personality psychologists describe openness as one of five major personality traits. Studies suggest that the other four traits (agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and extraversion) operate independently of a person’s cognitive abilities. But openness - being flexible and creative, embracing new ideas and taking on challenging intellectual or cultural pursuits - does appear to be correlated with cognitive abilities.
The new study, published in the journal Psychology and Aging, gave older adults a series of pattern-recognition and problem-solving tasks and puzzles that they could perform at home. Participants ranged in age from 60 to 94 years and worked at their own pace, getting more challenging tasks each week when they came to the lab to return materials.
“We wanted participants to feel challenged but not overwhelmed,” said University of Illinois educational psychology and Beckman Institute professor Elizabeth Stine-Morrow, who led the research. “While we didn’t explicitly test this, we suspect that the training program - adapted in difficulty in sync with skill development - was important in leading to increased openness. Growing confidence in their reasoning abilities possibly enabled greater enjoyment of intellectually challenging and creative endeavors.”
Researchers tested the cognitive abilities and personality traits of 183 participants and a control group of 131 older adults a few weeks before and after the intervention.
At the end of the program, those who had engaged in the training and practice sessions saw improvement in their pattern-recognition and problem-solving skills, while those in the control group did not. And those who improved in these inductive reasoning skills also demonstrated a moderate but significant increase in openness.
This study challenges the assumption that personality doesn’t change once one reaches adulthood, said Illinois psychology professor and study co-author Brent Roberts.
“There are certain models that say, functionally, personality doesn’t change after age 20 or age 30. You reach adulthood and pretty much you are who you are,” he said. “There’s some truth to that at some level. But here you have a study that has successfully changed personality traits in a set of individuals who are (on average) 75. And that opens up a whole bunch of wonderful issues to think about.”
Study authors also include psychology professor Joshua Jackson, of Washington University in St. Louis; U. of I. postdoctoral researcher Patrick Hill; and graduate student Brennan Payne.
Last job offers
- Psychology - 15.9
Trauma/PTSD-Forschungs-Postdoc Trauma/PTSD-Research Postdoc
- Psychology - 26.9
Assistant or Associate professor in Work and Organisational Psychology
- Psychology - 6.9
University Assistant (post doc)
- Psychology - 7.9
Junior Professorship for ’Molecular Psychology’
- Psychology - 7.9
Juniorprofessur für ’Molekulare Psychologie’
- Psychology - 23.9
- Psychology - 23.9
Research Associate in Language and Cognitive Development
- Psychology - 16.9