Your personality is the set of basic traits that makes you you, influencing your habits of thought and behaviour. But how fixed are they? The great American psychologist William James said that our personality is set like plaster by age 30. But new findings show that while there is a degree of stability in our traits, we also continue to change in meaningful ways through our lives – our personalities are more like plastic than plaster.

In this talk, psychologist and author Dr Christian Jarrett will explore the pros and cons of the main personality traits, the role they play in shaping our lives, how your traits are likely to change as you age and in response to different experiences. But we don’t have to be passive: you’ll also discover evidence-based ways that you can deliberately change your personality.

Dr Christian Jarrett is a psychologist and author of Be Who You Want: Unlocking the Science of Personality Change.

A cognitive neuroscientist by training, Christian is currently the Deputy Editor of Psyche Magazine, and was Editor of the award-winning BPS Research Digest Blog for sixteen years until July 2019. He writes regularly for the BBC, 99U and his TED-ED lesson has been viewed over 1.8 million times.


  • Dr Jarrett’s website:
  • Follow Dr Jarrett on twitter: @Psych_Writer

This interview was recorded at one of our 2018 events.

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