Personality Change

The notion of personality development in the sense of change over time also requires elaboration. To start with, not all change qualifies as development. For instance, i you walk from one classroom to another , your relationship to your surroundings has changed. But we do not speak of your "development" in this case, since the change is external to you and not enduring.

And not all internal changes can properly be considered development. When you get sick, for example, your body under goes important changes—your temperature may rise, your nose may run, and your head may ache. But these changes do not constitute development, since the changes do not last—you soon get healthy, your nose stops running, and you spring back into action. In the same way , temporary changes in personality—due to taking alcohol or drugs, for example—do not constitute personality development unless they produce more enduring changes in personality.

If you were to become consistently more conscientious or responsible as you aged, however, this would be a form of personality development. If you were to become gradually less ener getic as you aged, this also would be a form of personality development. And, if you were to become progressively more concerned with politics, this would be a form of personality development.

In sum, personality change has two defining qualities. First, the changes are typ ically internal to the person, not merely changes in the external surroundings, such as walking into another room. Second, the changes are relatively enduring over time, rather than being merely temporary .

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