Can an old dog learn (and want to experience) new tricks? Cognitive training increases openness to experience in older adults

Psychol Aging. 2012 Jun;27(2):286-92. doi: 10.1037/a0025918. Epub 2012 Jan 16.


The present study investigated whether an intervention aimed to increase cognitive ability in older adults also changes the personality trait of openness to experience. Older adults completed a 16-week program in inductive reasoning training supplemented by weekly crossword and Sudoku puzzles. Changes in openness to experience were modeled across four assessments over 30 weeks using latent growth curve models. Results indicate that participants in the intervention condition increased in the trait of openness compared with a waitlist control group. The study is one of the first to demonstrate that personality traits can change through nonpsychopharmocological interventions.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Attitude
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Educational Measurement
  • Exploratory Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Personality Assessment
  • Personality*
  • Problem Solving / physiology*
  • Programmed Instructions as Topic
  • Self Concept
  • Thinking / physiology