You Can Change Your Personality If You Want To, Science Says

If the self-help industry is to be believed, no one is perfectly content with their own personality—everyone wants to know how to win friends, become more charismatic, or learn to be assertive. It may not be as hard as you thought, though. Changing your personality may just be a matter of goal-setting, according to a new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Just as your personality changes over a lifetime—theoretically becoming more agreeable and conscientious as you mature—actively deciding to change some aspect of your personality can help you move in that direction. 

In two 16-week experiments conducted by psychologists Nathan Hudson and R. Chris Fraley of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, participants focused on changing their personalities in at least one area of what psychologists call the Big Five personality traits: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability/neuroticism, and openness to experience. Out of 135 subjects drawn from an undergraduate psych class, some people were asked to create a plan to make the personality changes they desired—goals they were asked to re-evaluate each week. Participants in the control group merely evaluated their own personality traits. 

In respect to extraversion, having a stated goal did predict whether or not participants would report changes in their personality, though the effect was limited to the more narrow personality change they wanted to make. So participants who wanted to become more gregarious, for instance, moved toward that goal, but didn’t experiences changes in the broader category of extraversion (at least not in the short study period).

In a follow-up trial with 151 students, participants also provided ratings of their trait-relevant daily behavior, in addition to the goal-tracking used in the previous test. Again, those who thought of goals to change their personalities experienced greater changes in the direction of their goals. People who wanted to become more extraverted and agreeable reported more behaviors relevant to those personality changes on a daily basis, too. 

As the researchers write, “people who want to increase in extraversion may modify their thoughts, feelings, and behavior to be more extraverted—which in turn may calcify into lasting increases in trait-extraversion.” In other words, people will try to act like the extraverted person they want to be, thus in time becoming truly extraverted. Or, if setting goals to be more extraverted changed their identity in regards to their own extraversion, this would translate into more extraverted behavior. 

One caveat: The study solely evaluated personality changes via the participant’s own reports on their personality, and it’s possible that people might over-report their own progress, believing they have become much more conscientious than they really have, for instance. 

[h/t: reddit]

The Most Popular Netflix Show in Every Country
most popular Netflix show in each country map
most popular Netflix show in each country map key

If you're bored with everything in your Netflix queue, why not look to the top shows around the world for a recommendation? recently used Google Trends data to create a map of the most popular show streaming on Netflix in every country in 2018. The best-loved show in the world is the dystopian thriller 3%, claiming the number one spot in eight nations. The show is the first Netflix original made in Portuguese, so it's no surprise that Portugal and Brazil are among the eight countries that helped put it at the top of the list.

Coming in second place is South Korea's My Love from the Star, which seven countries deemed their favorite show. The romantic drama revolves around an alien who lands on Earth and falls in love with a mortal. The English-language show with the most clout is 13 Reasons Why, coming in at number three around the world—which might be proof that getting addicted to soapy teen dramas is a universal experience.

Pot comedy Disjointed is Canada's favorite show, which probably isn't all that surprising given the nation's recent ruling to legalize marijuana. Perhaps coming as even less of a shock is the phenomenon of Stranger Things taking the top spot in the U.S. Favorites like Black Mirror, Sherlock, and The Walking Dead also secured the love of at least one country.

Out of the hundreds of shows on the streaming platform, only 47 are a favorite in at least one country in 2018. So no hard feelings, Gypsy.

Roadside Bear Statue in Wales is So Lifelike That Safety Officials Want It Removed

Wooden bear statue.

There are no real bears in the British Isles for residents to worry about, but a statue of one in the small Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells has become a cause of concern. As The Telegraph reports, the statue is so convincing that it's scaring drivers, causing at least one motorist to crash her car. Now road safety officials are demanding it be removed.

The 10-foot wooden statue has been a fixture on the roadside for at least 15 years. It made headlines in May of 2018 when a woman driving her car saw the landmark and took it to be the real thing. She was so startled that she veered off the road and into a street sign.

After the incident, she complained about the bear to highways officials who agreed that it poses a safety threat and should be removed. But the small town isn't giving in to the Welsh government's demands so quickly.

The bear statue was originally erected on the site of a now-defunct wool mill. Even though the mill has since closed, locals still see the statue as an important landmark. Llanwrtyd Wells councilor Peter James called it an "iconic gateway of the town," according to The Telegraph.

Another town resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Telegraph that the woman who crashed her car had been a tourist from Canada where bears are common. Bear were hunted to extinction in Britain about 1000 years ago, so local drivers have no reason to look out for the real animals on the side of the road.

The statue remains in its old spot, but Welsh government officials plan to remove it themselves if the town doesn't cooperate. For now, temporary traffic lights have been set up around the site of the accident to prevent any similar incidents.

[h/t The Telegraph]


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