Human nature and self identity: How much does our character change throughout life?

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Everyone grows and sees their interests, hobbies, passions, and opinions change over time, but does that mean that our very identity changes as well?

That’s what researchers set out to investigate, ultimately concluding that the core aspect of one’s identity largely remains the same throughout life.

To reach these conclusions, a group of 20 participants had their brain activity recorded via EEG (electroencephalography) while solving a series of identity and age recognition tasks. For instance, after being presented with an identity description, participants were instructed to determine if the identity in question was their own, a close friend’s, or belonging to a stranger.


Notably, participants were able to consistently pick out their own identity within just a fraction of a second (250 milliseconds to be exact), effectively confirming that no one knows you better than you.

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When it comes to this type of subject matter, it’s very easy to fall into seemingly endless philosophical and existential rabbit holes. From theories describing alternate realities and multiverses to any number of psychological debates and theories, mankind has been asking these questions for a long, long time… Yes, you’re not the same person you were years ago, but at the end of the day (or any day for that matter), your identity remains.

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