Pre-school children who spend time around one another tend to take on each others’ personalities, according to a first of its kind study which
suggests that personality is shaped by environment and not just genes.
“Our finding, that personality traits are ‘contagious’ among children, flies in the face of common assumptions that personality is ingrained and can not be changed,” said Jennifer Watling Neal from Michigan State University in the
US. “This is important because some personality traits can help children succeed in life, while others can hold them back,” said Neal.
The researchers studied two preschool classes for an entire school year, analysing personality traits and social networks for one class of three-year-olds and one class of four-year-olds.