Personality Can Change Over A Lifetime, And Usually For The Better
A good introduction to the concept of personality traits:
The world’s languages include many thousands of words for describing personality, but most of these can be organized in terms of the “Big Five” trait dimensions: extraversion (characterized by adjectives like outgoing, assertive and energetic vs. quiet and reserved); agreeableness (compassionate, respectful and trusting vs. uncaring and argumentative); conscientiousness (orderly, hard-working and responsible vs. disorganized and distractible); negative emotionality (prone to worry, sadness and mood swings vs. calm and emotionally resilient); and open-mindedness (intellectually curious, artistic and imaginative vs. disinterested in art, beauty and abstract ideas).
Christopher Soto, associate professor of psychology at Colby College and a member of the executive board of the Association for Research in Personality, reports on research suggesting that “personality traits are relatively stable over time, they can and often do gradually change across the life span. What’s more, those changes are usually for the better.”
Consciousness: The Mind Messing With the Mind
If you’re ready for some heady reading, George Johnson looks at one of humankind’s age-old questions: How does the brain, a physical structure, give rise to consciousness, the sense of self that arises from our thoughts?
Monkeys know what they don’t know
Rhesus monkeys are aware of the limits of their knowledge, new research shows. According to scientists at Harvard and Yale, the monkeys realized when they didn’t know something and needed outside expertise.
An interesting look at metacognition, the ability to think about thinking.
Crowds aren’t as smart as we thought, since some people know more than others. A simple trick can find the ones you want.
George Musser writes, “In the 1990s, crowd wisdom became a pop-culture obsession, providing a rationale for wikis, crowdsourcing, prediction markets and popularity-based search algorithms.”
However, not every in a crowd has the same level of knowledge about a given subject. To find which of the individuals to rely on, Musser advocates applying metaknowledge, which he calls “a powerful bullshit detector”:
Metaknowledge means you are aware of what you know or don’t know, and of where your level of knowledge stands in relation to other people’s. That’s a useful measure of your value to the crowd, because knowledge and metaknowledge usually go together.
© 2016 by Mary Daniels Brown