Nature and Nurture in Personality Development: The Case of Neuroticism and Extraversion

  • Kandler C
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Abstract

The stability of interindividual differences (i.e., rank-order continuity) in personality traits tends to increase with age until\r
it plateaus in middle adulthood and finally decreases in old age. Rank-order continuity also tends to decrease as the time\r
intervals between occasions of personality assessment increase, irrespective of age. These patterns show that personality\r
development is a lifelong process. Yet the sources of these patterns are unknown. Theories suggest that personality continuity\r
and change may result from environmentally mediated processes of identity development due to age-graded social roles and\r
individual life experiences, but also from biological maturation. Genetically informative longitudinal studies across different\r
age cohorts allow a differentiated picture of genetic and environmental sources. In this article, I give a short overview of the\r
genetic and environmental contributions to rank-order continuity and change in neuroticism and extraversion. Both genetic\r
and environmental factors contribute to personality continuity and change, but genetic factors affect rank-order change\r
only in younger decades of life, whereas environmental influences appear to represent a lifelong source of interindividual\r
differences in personality development.

Author-supplied keywords

  • environmental continuity
  • extraversion
  • genetic continuity
  • heritability
  • neuroticism

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Authors

  • Christian Kandler

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