University education has a positive effect on people’s personalities, recent research finds.
People generally become more extraverted after completing higher education.
The personalities of students from poorer backgrounds benefit even more from attending university.
Along with increased extraversion, these students become more agreeable.
Extraversion and agreeableness are two of the five major aspects of personality.
The other three are openness to experience, neuroticism and conscientiousness.
The conclusions come from a study of 575 adolescents who were given personality tests and followed up 8 years later.
The authors think these changes in personality are down to university life, rather than the teaching.
Dr Sonja Kassenboehmer, the study’s first author, said:
“We see quite clearly that students’ personalities change when they go to university.
Universities provide an intensive new learning and social environment for adolescents, so it is not surprising that this experience could impact on students’ personality.
It is good news that universities not only seem to teach subject-specific skills, but also seem to succeed in shaping skills valued by employers and society.”
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The study was published in the journal Oxford Economic Papers (Kassenboehmer et al., 2018).