Chapter 2

I thought this chapter was interesting because of how it opened and drew the reader in, by telling us that the personality trait, conscientiousness, leads to longevity. Conscientiousness includes being: prudent, sensible, well-organized, responsible, persistent, not being impulsive or carefree. I found carefree to be an interesting trait to not lead to longevity. I originally thought that having a carefree personality could lead to living a longer life, due to living in the present and not having as much stress. I can understand how the other traits lead to longevity.

I agree with all three reasons the authors came up with for why being conscientious may lead to living a longer life. The first reason being that conscientious individuals are more likely to take care of their health and not partake in risky behaviors, such as smoking and drugs. This reason makes sense to me. Being responsible and aware of your bodily state and health will lead to living a healthy lifestyle. For example, conscientious individuals may be more inclined to listen to their doctor’s advice and alter their habits. The second reason for why being conscientious may lead to longevity is due to nurture. Some individuals have genes that make them less prone to disease and illness. These individuals have different chemical levels in the brain, in particular, serotonin. High levels of serotonin leads to less impulsivity. In addition, serotonin is responsible for regulating health relevant processes in the body, such as how much you eat and how well you sleep. The last reason the authors came up with, is that being conscientious leads you to forming healthier relationships. This point I agree with the most from personal experience because when you associate yourself with other conscientious and healthy individuals, you are therefore more likely to be put in healthy situations and develop stable positive relationships.

I think it is important to remember that there are exceptions to these findings, and that humans are plastic creatures that have the ability to adapt and change. Although findings did show that the individuals with high conscientiousness in childhood and were also highly conscientious as adults, lived the longest. The good news is that you can change this about yourself to increase your chances of living a longer life, although it definitely will not happen overnight. You can begin by changing some smaller habits, such as time management and keeping an organized schedule and workspace.

After reading this chapter, I believe that it is not just conscientiousness standing alone that marks longevity, but certain traits and behaviors that interplay in individuals who are conscientious; such as determination, motivation and drive. Individuals with all of these traits are more likely to succeed, land a successful career, and make a decent living. These individuals will consequently be happy because they fulfilled their goals.






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3 Responses to Chapter 2

  1. Alexa Bertrand says:

    I agree with you and think that it may be more important to strike a happy medium between being carefree and being conscientious. Planning your life and keeping up with responsibilities is important and all, but I think that keeping of degree of just going with the flow and letting life take you in other directions can be important as well. I also did agree with your point concerning that humans can have exceptions to these assumptions, however, I do understand that this is a correlational study. As I said in class, I do find myself being an exception to this rule and the justifications they had behind it, however, I can imagine that overall this relationship between conscientiousness and health is probably relevant. In addition as I said in class, I’d like to consider how your behaviors outside and including conscientiousness may change over time related to your age and how that may affect your health as well.

  2. Jessica Patel says:

    You make a good point with your “carefree” personality trait. If we are carefree, meaning that we worry less because we feel like we have let certain responsibilities go, we should be happy, right? This sounds true to a certain extent. To me, it seems that people who leave lives less focused on materialism or achieving desirable items may be happier, perhaps live longer in the long run too. However, it’s important to look at the other definition of being carefree: engaging in risky behaviors. If we engage in highly risky behaviors, our chances of having a longer life decrease. It may seem like being conscientious may induce stress at the surface but that is not always the case. By planning and executing out a routine, one may be able to maintain low stress levels. If we are carefree but have expectations from others to carry out certain tasks, our stress levels will probably be high.

  3. Maya Wright says:

    I completely agree that it is not just conscientiousness alone does not mark longevity. Like you said there are many other factors that influence longevity and these traits can be adapted internally or externally. I also think that people who are very organized and able to change bad habits are at an advantage when it comes to longevity because they are able to make healthy changes to their lives that could potentially help them live longer. There are definitely exceptions to the authors findings, because some people may be able to internally motivate themselves to change even if they do not fall into the conscientious personality. I think that longevity also depends on how well a person is able to internally motivate themselves.

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