Old Dogs, New Tics


Turns out you may be able to teach old dogs new tics.

Scientific American reports that some researchers are saying that "personality is plastic and that the changes that come with age are generally for the better." Based on a (questionable to my mind) sample of more than 135,000 people who responded to an Internet survey, the researchers used standard personality assessments measures and found:

Agreeableness … climbed with age, largely among thirty-somethings. Men and women differed in their relative neuroticism: as women aged, their neurotic tendencies declined, but this was not the case for men. Openness waned slightly for both sexes, as did extraversion in women.

"This is a hopeful message about aging," [lead researcher Sanjay Srivastava of Stanford] observes. "It's so often viewed as a process of decline—your hair falls out, your teeth fall out—but we're seeing aging as a process of development. All the biggest changes were for the better."