Your personality at age six is your personality for life.
Researchers from the University of California, Riverside compared teacher personality ratings of 144 elementary students in the 1960s to interviews those same students completed 40 years later. They found that behaviors observed by the teachers when the students were in first grade were almost always predictive of their personality in middle age.
“We remain recognizably the same person,” concluded Christopher Nave, who authored the study. “This speaks to the importance of understanding personality because it does follow us wherever we go across time and contexts.”
So why is it, if our personality is set at age 6, you don’t see more adults walking around with juice boxes?
The technology makes the tiniest windows of time entertaining, and potentially productive. But scientists point to an unanticipated side effect: when people keep their brains busy with digital input, they are forfeiting downtime that could allow them to better learn and remember information, or come up with new ideas…
“Almost certainly, downtime lets the brain go over experiences it’s had, solidify them and turn them into permanent long-term memories,” said Loren Frank, assistant professor in the department of physiology at the university, where he specializes in learning and memory. He said he believed that when the brain was constantly stimulated, “you prevent this learning process.”
At the University of Michigan, a study found that people learned significantly better after a walk in nature than after a walk in a dense urban environment, suggesting that processing a barrage of information leaves people fatigued.
Even though people feel entertained, even relaxed, when they multitask while exercising, or pass a moment at the bus stop by catching a quick video clip, they might be taxing their brains, scientists say.
“People think they’re refreshing themselves, but they’re fatiguing themselves,” said Marc Berman, a University of Michigan neuroscientist.
Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime (New York Times)