Predictability life course

Are we able to predict from the personality of a 7-year old child what their life will be like 50 years on?

Voorspelbaarheid levensloop

In 1964, British film maker Michael Apted started following a group of 14 English 7-year olds. Every 7 years he made new portraits. In 2012, the 8th documentary in this series, called the ‘Up’ series, was shown: by this time the 7-year olds of 1964 had turned 56.
A striking feature in the portraits was, on the one hand, continuity: life seems to run a predictable course. On the other hand, we saw discontinuity: life seems to be characterised by unexpected turns. Each time, however, the temperament or personality of the child seems to play an important role, both in regards to the predictability and the unexpected events. In long-term studies, too, we see that to a certain extent we can make predictions about the life course based on early personality. This does not mean that everything is set in stone, for the effects of the social context and also of ‘random’ events in the life course are important.