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Thoughts on when personality starts to form


Muratus del Mur
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(warning - lack of psychology diploma ahead)

I just made a discovery and i am curious for any feedback. Maybe someone of you with knowledge on such matters could tell me if it is something known or wrong or what.

I believe that personality starts to form when we start to be able to consciously think multitasking.
I also believe that multitasking thinking influences the way personality develop. People with jobs or activities requiering highly distributive attention develop a more flexible personality and are more capable of assuming different roles. People with jobs or activities that require less multitasking thinking, such as fixed repetitive activities, have a tendency to stick to a fixed and less flexible personality.

Multitasking thinking gives our mind a glance at how we are, as if observing itself, and because of that process personality starts to form. Personality is a broad term, i refer to all its meanings, no need to detail it here.

Again, this is my own undocumented theory based on things i learned through my own methods, do not take it as fact. I am looking for feedback to polish this theory and fill in certain gaps.

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Research indicates that the vast majority of personality is set within the first year of life and is [i]incredibly[/i] difficult to alter or change without experiencing extreme trauma. Essentially, as a person ages, they are more or less going to behave as an adult as they did as a child.
Using your anologies, it is more likely that a person with a "rigid" personality is going to seek out a career that has lower "multitasking needs" than someone you know that has a more "flexible" personality. A person will seek out the place in which they best fit.


There is a lot of research available about personality development, but I doubt you will find many--or any--sources that indicate that it develops at a later point in the life span than the first few years. It will undoubtedly be influenced by experiences gathered throughout life, but it is essentially a set of fixed characteristics. When you meet a "grumpy old man" or a "kindly old lady," these people are not that way because of old age or senility, but because they were like that when they were younger.
I doubt you would find many parents who would say their child doesn't have a personality of sorts within the first few weeks of life. Statements such as "he always seems to be happy and easy to please" or "it takes her so long to calm down" are indicative of personality traits these children will carry with them throughout their lifetimes.

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[size=3][font=verdana,geneva,sans-serif]i'm not much into psychology myself, but i'm pretty sure about one thing - there's no such thing as multitasking in human brain. this term came up with computing science, and while processor (or even multiple) can split a task into parts and prioritize ordered batch of parallel tasks without dividing it's potential to "think", human would take 2 (or more) tasks as one, i.e. reading a book, listening to radio and discussing about global warming with his wife would be as one single complex task. it would not be split and prioritized as some chunks of info, it would be just executed all at once and would be really (or even too) hard for a human being to cope with. as a result human would still concentrate on one chosen task, while trying to do bits of others with way (WAY) less success than he would do them separately.[/font][/size]

[size=3][font=verdana,geneva,sans-serif]i know, you can say that "i can drive a car and talk on phone", but you would not be doing 2 jobs, it still would be one, aggregate job. where driving requires only a bit of attention, you would still be losing that bit on talking to someone even in casual conversations, and in a bit more extreme driving situations you might catch yourself talking bullshit on your phone or starting to move that direction :). and in opposite situation, if you have some essential conversation, you're moving into a big risk on driving part.[/font][/size]

[size=3][font=verdana,geneva,sans-serif]you can test this. take 2 your friends and ask one to name 10 random words and another 10 random numbers at the same time. try to write them down after they finish. you can do those tasks pretty easy if they go 1 by 1 separately.[/font][/size]

[size=3][font=verdana,geneva,sans-serif]now it would be easier to talk, if you could say exactly what you decide as multitasking? what would be your RL example? anyways, you could split those tasks and do them separately one after another and you would grow way stronger as a specialist in all those spheres then trying to do everything at the same time.[/font][/size]

[size=3][font=verdana,geneva,sans-serif]the only thing i see for "multitasking" people is - they might get stronger and more adapted to stressful situations.[/font][/size]

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[quote name='duxie' timestamp='1327136803' post='101579']
[size=3][font=verdana,geneva,sans-serif]there's no such thing as multitasking in human brain.[/font][/size]
[/quote]
Research indicates that you are correct in this statement, and that as people try to attempt more tasks simultaneously, the incidence of errors increases.


However, I believe that multitasking is not about focusing equally on all tasks at the same time, but about devoting only as much time and attention to each specific task as is needed. Your example of talking on a phone while driving is a poor example of such multitasking as driving a car is something one should focus on with minimal distraction (and talking on a phone is rarely that,) which is why talking and driving are either frowned upon or outright banned in various parts of America, though I don't know about Europe or other parts of the world.

Walking is a task that many would say is fairly simple; however, there are ways to complicate such a task. Adding obstacles to one's path would be one such way as would carrying large and/or multiple packages. Would adding these two complications not be an example of multitasking? In this instance, one needs to be aware of his or her spatial relationship to the surrounding objects while focusing on how to find and adjust his or her balance with the additional weight of the packages. Someone who is focusing too much on one part of the task (as opposed to "just enough") is likely to experience an error (tripping and falling or dropping one or more packages) for the task not receiving enough attention.
Of course, a variable such as "just enough attention" is difficult--if not impossible--to quantify. To complicate it even more, the required amount of attention any specific task needs will vary during the duration of the various tasks.

Humans are able to perform such a task, some doing it daily. Is this not an example of multitasking? If not, what would it be considered?


A quick side note: research indicates that babies--those who are within the first few months of life--are capable of multitasking with ease as their senses are absorbing vast amounts of information which their brains are able to process. It is later that these talents are "pared away" and a human's ability to split focus diminishes greatly.

Edited by Watcher
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Human organism do multitasking actuall constantly.
But consciously thinking of doing multi tasks in same time implicate confusion. And off course it si not something cannot be avoided or improved, everything is changeble regarding proper training on the subject.

Example - you never think about breathing, you do it parallel with any conscious action. You cells are independent from your "thinking", by physiological means humans are multi-tasking.

During sleep little than only one quarter of the human task processess go idle, meaning that what you think you are doing is not always what you really do :)

Edited by Atrumist
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[quote name='Atrumist' timestamp='1327161986' post='101635']
Example - you never think about breathing...
You cells are independent from your "thinking", by physiological means humans are multi-tasking.

During sleep little than only one quarter of the human task processess go idle
[/quote]

I object to your use of autonomic body functions as evidence that a human can multitask.

While a person can have some degree of control over the rate and depth of breathing, it is, in essence, an automatic function of the human body, the same as blood circulation and digestion. These processes occur whether a human wants them to or not and does not require any effort. They are regulated by parts of the brain to which humans do not have conscious access.


Multitasking, as presented, is the [i]conscious and deliberate[/i] attempt to perform more than one task at a time. Walking and breathing or reading and digesting lunch would [b]not[/b] be examples of this phenomenon as one task in the pair is performed automatically by the body [i]without conscious[/i] effort.

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[quote name='Watcher' timestamp='1327164399' post='101646']

I object to your use of autonomic body functions as evidence that a human can multitask.

While a person can have some degree of control over the rate and depth of breathing, it is, in essence, an automatic function of the human body, the same as blood circulation and digestion. These processes occur whether a human wants them to or not and does not require any effort. They are regulated by parts of the brain to which humans do not have conscious access.


Multitasking, as presented, is the [i]conscious and deliberate[/i] attempt to perform more than one task at a time. Walking and breathing or reading and digesting lunch would [b]not[/b] be examples of this phenomenon as one task in the pair is performed automatically by the body [i]without conscious[/i] effort.
[/quote]

Thats the mistake of modern science ... deliberating a system in pieces, not like a whole.
As long as we speak just for[i] the [/i][i]conscious[/i] we are assuming just a part of the system in some carantine manner, but I'm not sure that the solution lies in cutting the relations of the conscious from the other parts of the mind existence. And whats conscious is relative, you see people assume it in a very vertical way - a focus, hence make it invalid in congition.

And for the computers...you think they have conscious or just make automatic functions calculating ... like we breathing...?

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  • Root Admin

i don't want to go into extreme examples, but typing something (that makes sense independently) while talking something completely different with someone else, IS multitasking. cooking while thinking how to deal with a totally unrelated matter is multitasking thinking too, in my opinion. I also believe that thinking ahead, while doing something, is sort of a multitasking process because you think on a different, but related, matter. Focus shifts indeed from one to an other but the mental processes is parallel and semi-conscious

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Multitasking, as presented, is the deliberate action of splitting one's focus on more than one task. Driving, reading, singing, walking, eating, writing, and many other actions require an individual's focus and attention to perform. They are conscious actions that require effort from a person.
Sleeping, breathing, digesting, or any other function of the body that does not require any sort of focus cannot be included in this definition of multitasking because it does not require effort or action on the part of the person.


Splitting focus and attention among different tasks, as pointed out, reduces one's ability to successfully perform tasks and errors are more likely to occur. One would find it incredibly difficult--if not impossible--to successfully sing while eating or drive while reading. These are independent, deliberate actions that require a person to focus on them, to give attention and thought to what is happening and react accordingly. As presented, errors can, and are likely, to occur if these actions are performed simultaneously

To imply that sleeping and breathing or digesting while speaking are somehow in the same category as the previous examples is simply rediculous. Is there [i]any[/i] evidence of "mistakes" someone has made while sleeping and breathing at the same time? There is no reason to believe that autonomic functions are in any way related to multitasking.

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[quote name='Watcher' timestamp='1327167330' post='101659']
sing while eating or drive while reading.
[/quote]

cmon get better examples, those are impossible becoz of physical things not becoz of mental things, ofc ya cant eat and sing, in here point is to use mind to do more tasks, i mean... one ofc cant eat and sing becoz that requires the use of same "tool" - mouth

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Watcher are we talking about human entity or a part of the brain?
To make it clear conscious is not the latter.

Tasks can be mental or physical , you can't mix them like eating while singing lol.

Yes , focus is centered on one thing, but that don't exclude possibility of other mental activities.
Like Mur said, thinking before happening exposes the preemtive nature of cognitive acting, exmpl. in the same time you talk with people and write a story.

Mental confusion (like move one hand right, one leg right) appears because happens one center to be accesed by two nerves stimuli, that in computer science is pretty often occurence. That don't exclude existence of multitask.

Physical barrier - reading while driving. Eyes are needed like receptors to observe the surrounding or to receive the information transported by letters with semantic meaning. Physical limits to use 2 mental activity, does not exclude existence of multitask.

In the end this is way off topic of the offtopic subject. :))

Edited by Atrumist
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The way I see it is that we are born with an inherent disposition towards a certain attitude.

Some people are born really kind, but their experiences will either enhance it, or dull that personality trait. For instance. Mahatma Ghandi. Everyone knows who he is. He was known for liberating India. But what most people don't know is that he was regularly beaten and punished for being Indian. Now, he had two options here. He COULD have turned against them and strike them(like most of you would have done) but no, he followed his inate personality. He rose above the prejudice, and become on of the worlds greatest protestors of violence.

Some people are born more intune with their animalistic side. Again, life experiences either enhance, or dull it. I have this aquaintence, shall be named Bob, that was a bully from the moment he could crawl. Slapping his younger and older sisters, stealing their food, what ever he could do, he did it. He ended up growing up to be a complete dbag. Everyone hated him for his attitude. He only got worse and worse. Now, my sister met this guy when she was six or so. She tried being friends with him. Failed. We moved to another city, and they didn't see each other for about 20 years. They reunited while he was in prison(for armed robbery), and she was working there as a parole officer. She took a special interest in him(ended up getting married), and it literally changed him. He's now one of my best most reliable friends with a promising future in MMA. He has won several world championships in the last 5 years. 3 Golds, 2 Silvers.

You can't fight your inherent disposition, but you can certainly change the degree that it effects you.



As for the multitasking thing, we can't just split our attention into two pieces. Our brains don't work that way.

We can focus on one thing with one half of our brain, and another. Through this, and practice/development of our brain, we can multitask with our bodies. Ever tried rubbing your stomach, while patting your head? Then switching? Well, it's difficult/almost impossible to do at first, but over time you can train your body to do it. However, your two halfs of your brain are working as one at that point. Originally, they were working together, clumsily. (right brain works the left side of the body, and left side controls the right) And after training, your two halfs start to work together more efficiently. They cannot, and will not work seperately. Brains, 99% of the time, can't do seperate things. They may seem like it, but studies have shown that your brain "translates" the seperate processes into a series of single commands that your body then performs.


and focus our cerebrum on another(the part that handles our coherent thoughts). We can control our bodily functions with the medulla oblongata, and we can do two simultaneous things with our body(or more) with practice, but we can't think two different simultaneous trains of thought.

Your cerebrum can't focus on two different things at once. It thinks of itself as one. It may have hands and feet(metaphorically) that it can grasp onto seperate things, but it becomes cluttered and confused. Try calculating how many seconds are in a day, while reciting the national anthem from memory. It's not possible to do, without practice. But when you do manage to be able to do it, through practice, your brain doesn't see it as two different processes, but a single integrated thought process.

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I believe we start to build our personality when we consciously receive feedback from our senses- that is when it is built.

"I think, so I am."

The infants start that because we receive feedback- but there is is merely in the building phase. Conciously multitasking would for me be the stage where the consciousness has fully assembled and then begins to emerge. It's a gradual process for me, where the senses tip the scales until the consciousness could form fully.

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(warning –also a lack of any psychology diploma ahead :P )

There appears to be evidence that there are certain (basic) personality types. There also appears to be evidence that some personality traits are inherent from birth. Most of our personality develops over time though, due to age, social and environmental influences.

A flexible mind (capable of multitasking among other things) certainly has an influence on the development of our personality. I think it’s too simply put to say that personality starts to develop when we learn to multitask. However the idea that multitasking enables us to observe ourselves and so influence our behavior makes sense. I have come across this concept, in one way or another, in several schools of psychological thought. (can’t remember exact references at the moment) And in a few instances have been able to “observe” this process in myself.

So when does our personality start to develop? Given that there may or may not be basic personality types and inherent personality traits from birth. I think our mind/personality starts to develop as soon as our brain reaches a certain level of growth. (in a neurological sense, enough synaptic connections, capability to process sensory input and to retain memories and such)

Edited by Azull
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[size=3][font=verdana,geneva,sans-serif]your "multitasking" is based on automatization of one of the tasks. there are many RL examples. by practicing the same task for tons of times you get to some point of perfection, and to accomplish it you need minimum attention. your ability to "multitask" in one sphere doesn't make you somehow better in "multitasking" overall, i.e. doesn't push your personality somewhere further, you just learn one of those tasks really good.[/font][/size]

[size=3][font=verdana,geneva,sans-serif]also, tasks are of different complexity, hence you need different amount of time and capabilities to learn them. to take the same talking as a task - to talk about weather and to talk about quantum mechanics would require quite different attention, unless you're great in both. but then again - you're not so great in something else and that something else would be impossible to "multitask", though it is still the same talking task. typing while talking would not be so easy if the topic is not so common to you. also, talking while typing in some different language would get harder too - you can try that. the same with everything... if by cooking you mean chopping onions, peeling potatoes, or mixing your soup, then yes - you can think where you could take your girl this evening at the same time. these tasks are easy and have been learned near to perfection long time ago for most of us. those who never tried to chop an onion - don't try this at home. thinking ahead would also work only with simple tasks for you, such as driving, eating or typing something casual. but if you'd take something which requires more attention - everything would change.[/font][/size]

[size=3][font=verdana,geneva,sans-serif]you can take circus juggler for example. while he could juggle and do almost anything else what doesn't require hands (talk, ride bicycle, take a nap...), and that could look like a miracle for most of us, he would not be able to type and do the same other tasks; though almost any of us would look like a miracle to him here. it's just that we've done different things for a lot of times, and know them better, but our "multitasking" as skill is not increased, switch sides if you want to be sure.[/font][/size]

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Brain maturation is consistent in healthy fetuses and it is believed that by the (approximate) 24th or 25th week that the fetus responds to sound. This being the case one can argue that personality begins to develop in the womb. External stimuli does indeed play a factor in personality development. An unborn child receiving no stimulus vs a fetus that is subjected to Mozart (or Rob Zombie:P) on a daily basis..hmm. How does multi-tasking play a factor? The brain itself multi-tasks during all stages of development (in a biological sense). Does the stimulated fetus gain some type of advantage?

Edited by Kiley
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Mur, you may be interested in a book - it's called "The Introvert's Advantage." It's really a self-help book, and a little over-sensationalized, but it details quite nicely in layman's terms how personality development affects individuals - specifically on the introvert/extrovert spectrum.

For instance, introverts have more complex analytic skills (multitasking ability), creativity, and flexibility - they see patterns as more right-brained thinkers. However, they are a bit 'slower' - especially considering how the industrial world is catered towards extroverts - and they conduction pathways (neurons) in their brains are actually longer than their extrovert counterparts. They are like a rechargeable battery and need to stop and rest to recharge. On the other hand, extroverts are more like solar panels - they need the sun to recharge.

I speak of archetypes, of course. In reality we each lie somewhere along the spectrum. And yes, we are born with these traits. Just like everything else, a blend of genetics and environmental influence, but personality is definitely hard wired. As with any trait, it can always be influenced / manipulated to affect positive change in one's life.

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[color=#008080][font=lucida sans unicode,lucida grande,sans-serif]My information comes from observation of my 2 boys. My first son though he is autistic displayed a desire to be funny from the time he was about 6 months old. He likes to make people laugh. This is a challenge for him because he cannot "multitask" in the way this thread is going. Autistic children can only do one thing at a time. He literally can't walk and chew gum. If he is doing something while you are trying to talk to him, he doesn't hear you.[/font][/color]

[color=#008080][font=lucida sans unicode,lucida grande,sans-serif]My second son seemed to develop his personality in womb. It didn't matter what was happening he would react to it. Once outside, his personality became more obvious. He hated to be kept in one place. He was very adventurous. He was almost always happy, too. As he's grown, that hasn't changed. It took quite a while for him to learn to sit still and be quiet in school. He finds no adventure in it. He has issues with being patient, which I can assure you started while in womb. He tried to come 6 weeks early. When he was "stopped", he took a "fine be that way" attitude and was nearly late! :P[/font][/color]

[color=#008080][font=lucida sans unicode,lucida grande,sans-serif]If you really want to get an idea of when people start developing personality, ask a woman with a lot of kids or spend some time observing children of different ages. You may be surprised at what you discover. [/font][/color]

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Personality in the current moment is approached by mental health experts so multidimensional. That is, the personality of the individuals are formed and influenced by factors innate, present at birth of the individual, and by dimensions shaped by its development (which are influenced by the environment in which they develops).

With all due respect but you are being reductionist to believe that something as complex as personality depends of a single factor for starting their training and that it and influenced only by this point.

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