TODAY   |  April 22, 2014

Study: We actually get nicer as we age

Several research studies conducted over the past few years show that personality naturally changes during adulthood, in response to life events.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> do you think it's possible for people to change? we tend to think folks get crankier as they age. well, you know, kind of like this, for example. take a look.

>> i want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell, i'm as mad as hell and i'm not going to take this anymore!

>> that's right. one of the most iconic angry old men from the movie "network."

>> also crazy.

>> but contrary to what we may think, scientists say people actually tend to get nicer as they get older. they call it the maturity principle. so from the ages of 20 to 65, apparently we become less angry and neurotic and more agreeable and emotionally stable. these differences are often sparked by career advancement and being in a committed relationship. but they caution these changes don't happen overnight. so do you teach an old dog new tricks?

>> i think you just don't sweat the small stuff.

>> thank you so much. i love your tie.

>> i think people most of the time say when they're older, i don't care what people think as much. i'm going to be blunt. i'm going to say what's on my mind. but this is nice to know that we mellow with age.