Nine Lives: The Up Series and Personality Over Time

Megan Alders, Sonia Baron, Caitlin Benedict, Courtney Hunt, Kevin Lanning

Abstract


The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of personality development in a
particular sample of individuals. Using the Up Series documentary as a platform, we collected
extensive amounts of data with the use of personal narratives, the California Child and Adult
Q-sort assessments, and a series of personally constructed trait rating scales to produce nine
longitudinal case studies. The Up Series follows the lives of fourteen Britons of varying social and
economic backgrounds from age seven in the early 1960s to the present day. After synthesizing
all of our singular data, contrary to what the directors of the film initially postulated, we found
that childhood socioeconomic circumstances do not necessarily dictate the levels of success and
failure that these individuals experience throughout their lives. This research will likely impact
the perception of social class effects in personality development.


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