The Personality Myth

We like to think of our own personalities, and those of our family and friends as predictable, constant over time. But what if they aren’t? What if nothing stays constant over a lifetime?



Personality Myth

Personality is often seen as destiny. Whether you’re a famous CEO like Steve Jobs or a serial criminal like Hannibal Lecter, most of us think that our position in life has a lot to do with our personality. This episode looks more closely at this belief. We start at a Court House where lines of people who are getting married describe the personality of the person with whom they are to be joined for life. Then travel to a prison in Ohio where a woman has struck up a work relationship with a prisoner who it turns out did something far worse than she imagined. Finally Lulu talks to a scientist to come up with a complete catalogue of all the things about us that actually do stay stable over the course of our lives. They look at everything from cells to memories until ultimately they come up with a list — but it’s a really short list.


This program was first broadcast on NPR by LuLu Miller on 24 June 2016

The ghost in my brain

When a professor of artificial intelligence had disturbing brain injury symptoms as a result of a concussion, he lost his former self—but encouraged by the potential of brain plasticity he changed the course of his life.



Clark Elliot

Professor of Artificial Intelligence,
DePaul University,
Illinois


This program was first broadcast on ABC’s Radio National by Lynne Malcolm on 1 May 2016