Researchers at the University of Zurich have developed a mobile application aimed at enhancing and optimizing personality traits, such as social skills or emotional intelligence. In the study, the scientists verified changes in personality after three months of daily use of the smartphone application. In addition, the beneficial effects were still observed three months later.
Personality is much more than our way of being or of relating to the world. Its features directly affect such important issues as our emotional life, our job performance, and even our psychophysical well-being. Although psychology and psychiatry work on these issues, other tools and strategies for daily use that could promote positive changes in personality have not yet been adequately developed.
However, a group of scientists led by the University of Zurich in Switzerland has managed to demonstrate according to a statement that personality traits can be modified through non-clinical methods in just three months. To do this, they used an application for mobile phones, through which a virtual assistant, a series of specific content, and a support chat allowed participants to sharpen or attenuate their personality traits.
The research included an impact study on a sample of around 1,500 participants, combining changes reported by the volunteers themselves, observations from close people, and data collected through the app. Five main personality traits were examined openmindedness, conscientiousness and values, sociability, kindness and empathy, and lastly emotional vulnerability.
The participants had to select some of the traits and try to enhance or reduce them, according to their positive or negative regard for them. According to the conclusions of the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the data shows that there were concrete changes in personality after three months of daily use of the application. At the same time, observers indicated that these changes were sustained over the next three months.
SHORT TERM RESULTS
In addition to verifying the usefulness of the technological tool, the research also shows that changes in personality can occur more quickly than previously thought. Traditionally it was believed that these modifications were made after long periods of internal work, but the new study finds positive modifications in only a few months. According to the results of the research, the application showed greater effectiveness in cases in which people wanted to enhance and not reduce a trait of their personality. At the same time, the observers indicated that emotional vulnerability was the trait studied with the lowest rate of positive modifications.
TOOLS WITH A FUTURE
Considering that these technological tools are easily accessible for the majority of the population and their use is relatively simple, it is likely that their impact with the aim of improving personality traits will increase significantly in the coming years. It is worth noting that the system used in this case had a completely virtual operation no face-to-face instances were required to communicate with participants’ observers, or access the content included in the application.
If we understand the importance of promoting the development of the personality, whose impact generates changes even in the structure of the brain itself, it is possible that this type of new technologies can collaborate for the birth of a more harmonious society and with happier and fuller individuals.