According to a recent study, our personalities are influenced by the environment we grew up in. According to a recent study, one of these children is substantially more likely than the other two to be amiable, open, and emotionally stable merely because he grew up in a warmer area. Anecdotally, we know that the weather impacts our mood. We also know that depression is common during cold seasons while happiness is more prevalent during warm times of year. This new research is just another indication of the importance of childhood experiences on who we become as adults.
Researchers at Yale University asked participants about their home environments when they were children. They then rated the subjects on five traits: activity, affectionateness, emotional stability, extroversion, and thinking ability. The researchers controlled for age, gender, ethnicity, education, income, and location so as not to bias their results.
They found that people raised in homes with few distractions or limited access to outdoors activities were more likely to show signs of anxiety and depression as adults. Children of alcoholics, for example, are more likely to become alcoholic themselves. Adults who grew up in abusive homes are more likely to abuse drugs and commit suicide if they are also physically abused. People who experience mental illness in their families are more likely to suffer from it themselves.
People who were raised in poverty have been shown to be more likely to engage in criminal behavior as adults.
Temperature-related weariness, for example, may have an impact on one's personality development. Certain personality characteristics may be more adaptable in colder or hotter surroundings. Experimentation has shown that people tend to become more agreeable, responsible, and tolerant over time when living in cold climates. In warmer climates, individuals tend to develop these traits faster.
The interaction between body and mind is very important to understand if we are to make sense of many things related to human behavior. Our moods, for example, are affected by everything from the quality of our food to the temperature outside. It also affects how we think and act at a given moment. Our temperament is shaped by factors such as genetics, environment, and life experience, but it can be altered through learning and behavior modification.
There are several studies indicating that certain personality types are associated with specific climate patterns. For example, researchers have found that people who live in places with cold winters are more likely to be introverted and responsible than those who live in places with warm winters. Similarly, individuals who grow up in hot climates are more likely to be extroverted and open to new experiences than those who were raised in cooler environments. These associations have been noted among both men and women, adults and children.
It is true that environmental factors, especially parenting, have an impact on personality. Based on genetic data, researchers estimated that the environment contributes for around 50 to 70% of personality. 20-30% of variability in traits such as openness to experience or conscientiousness can be attributed to genes, with the remaining variance due to environmental factors.
Studies have shown that parenting style affects how conscientious a child will be as an adult. Children who were raised in homes where respect and responsibility were emphasized tended to become more responsible themselves. Also, children who were given freedom but also expected to use it wisely would learn to make good decisions as adults. Finally, studies have shown that exposure to violence during childhood may lead to becoming a victim of violence yourself as an adult.
In addition to parenting, other environmental factors such as social status, wealth, education, and culture influence personality. For example, people who are from high-income countries or whose families care for them well tend to be more open to new experiences and less likely to suffer from anxiety than people who come from low-income countries or who have neglectful or abusive parents, respectively. Culture also plays a role: Studies have shown that individuals from different cultures can have similar personalities despite coming from different environments.
While many individuals believe that their personalities are formed in childhood, current study indicates that most people's personalities develop throughout their lives. Studies have shown that our personality traits are established by the time we reach age 25 and few change thereafter.
The major personality theories all agree on this point: Our personalities are shaped by experience. The way someone deals with these experiences determines which traits appear most prominent at any given moment in their life.
In other words, our personalities are flexible, but they can be changed over time if we face certain challenges.
Some researchers believe that our personalities are solidified after some specific events in our lives. For example, one study showed that people who die young without ever marrying or having children tend to be more extroverted, energetic, and open than average people. They theorize that because death was found to be an unavoidable part of these men's lives, they developed strategies for coping with it that included seeking out new experiences and getting involved in activities that used their energy well.
On the other hand, survivors of catastrophic accidents such as buses crashes, plane crashes, and shipwrecks tend to be more agreeable, tolerant, peaceful, and secure than average people.