Human nature evolves and changes throughout life. It does not settle down until after fifty. It is not strange that somebody is significantly different in character at forty than he was at twenty, it is normal.

This is the conclusion of a group of psychologists at Penn University, but it is supported by the findings of many other psychologists at other institutions. A new consensus is emerging.

That finding also has some policy implications. For example, it shatters the illusion that what is drilled into people in adolescence is the kind of views they will hold throughout their lives. In fact, most will hold those views at 25, but no one knows what they will be like at 40. Character traits will change and opinions will change.

Secondly. In terms of political influence and what age group to work with most, it’s the 40-somethings. They are at an age when characters are settling down and many of them have had some life experience. And they’re going to be active in public life for the next thirty years, maybe longer.

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