Many years ago, Sibill Schilter, a student at the University of Zurich, knows that his school recruits people to test whether a smartphone app can help a person change their personality traits. These are the patterns of thinking, emotions, and behavior of people, and they are often classified as the “big five”: openness, sincerity, humor, concord, and neuroticism.
Curious to know about himself, Schilter signed up. Maybe, in his mind, he was little again agree “I’m the kind of person who always wants to please everyone a little bit, and I can be very good at saying no if I don’t like something,” Schilter said.
For decades, psychologists have debated whether these behaviors have been cured or changed. The study that Schilter participated in was designed to test whether using an app daily for three months was enough to produce noticeable and lasting personality changes. Each participant chose a trait they wanted to increase or decrease. For example, a goal may be more excessive, defined by researchers as more social, with more energy for action, less quiet, or always in the lead.
the app, called Peach (PErsonality coaching), act like a diary, a dashboard, and a text messaging channel wrapped in a letter. In the dashboard, users can see an overview of their purpose, a calendar showing their progress, and their work for a week. For example, someone who wants to be more vigilant may be given homework an hour after coming home from classes. The app sends the user two push notifications daily to remind them, and when the user does it will show up on the dashboard.
Users can also talk to a digital coach class, a chatbot also named “Peach,” about their day-to-day activity. The chatbot can ask which task someone is working on or how stressed they are. Users can also choose to complete a daily diary, which will create a self-review of the five key characteristics. (Example: “How would you describe yourself today – shy or talkative?”)
In a study published in February of Methods of the National Academy of Science the researchers concluded that the app would work. The study was conducted with 1,523 volunteers. Compared to the control group, users who received the smartphone intervention showed more self-reported behavioral changes toward their goals. In general, friends, family members, or close associates who volunteered to observe the participants also noticed changes in personality, with self-reported changes and observer continued for three months after the study. More importantly, the reports reported by the observer are only significant among the seekers. healing a trait, but not for those who want to underestimate one, suggests that it may be easier for others to observe if a person develops a trait compared to getting one.
Mirjam Stieger, the study’s lead author, describes the “high-dose” nature of the intervention — that users interact with the app and chatbot multiple times a day — as key to driving changes in personality. “It’s repetition that helps,” said Stieger, a postdoctoral fellow in the Lifespan Developmental Psychology Laboratory at Brandeis University.
Mathias Allemand, the project’s chief investigator, agreed, adding that other interventions that people can try, such as seeing a therapist or attending meditation sessions, are usually less intensive, which happens every week or two. He added that the accessibility, convenience and diverse nature of the app-such as being able to chatbot differently on a daily basis-attracted participants. “You have the smartphone and [chatbot] coach in your pocket, ”said Allemand, a psychology professor at the University of Zurich.