26 May 2010

The Big Personality Test: A Child of Our Time Special

BBC ONE, 9pm, Sunday 30th May and Monday 31st May (time and dates subject to change)

Child of Our Time reveals personality profile of the nation in UK’s biggest personality test

Did you know that the UK is one of the most extrovert nations in the world? That levels of conscientiousness are higher among lower income families than richer families? And that low agreeableness is associated with higher earnings?

The Big Personality Test: A Child of Our Time special, produced in partnership with The Open University, reveals the results of the biggest ever scientific study of personality in the UK. In a two-part special, presenters Professor Robert Winston and Sophie Raworth outline results from over 200,000 people who have taken part so far in the Big Personality Test, and catch up with the 25 children who have been followed by the landmark series Child of Our Time, to find out how much their personality has shaped their direction in life.

Launched last year by BBC Lab UK, The Big Personality Test is the largest experiment of its kind. It aims to answer the question: does personality shape our lives or do our lives shape our personality? To coincide with the broadcast of Child of Our Time, participants will now be able to use Lab UK to invite family, partners and friends to take part, opening up a fascinating new area of study into the effect of your social networks on your personality.

Richard Cable, Editor of Lab UK said: "The Big Personality Test is only at the halfway stage, but we've already generated some truly fascinating insights. It really builds on Lab UK's growing reputation for doing groundbreaking science with the British public that started with our Nature paper on brain training and continues with this huge study of personality."

The Big Personality Test was designed by Lab UK in collaboration with Professor Michael Lamb and Jason Rentfrow of Cambridge University. The five traits examined in the Big Personality Test are: extroversion, neuroticism, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness.

Child of Our Time is halfway through its ambitious 20 year mission. The new series brings together the 25 children whose development has been followed by the programme since birth, along with their families, to investigate how individual personality traits may have influenced their decisions and paths in life. To take part in the test visit: www.bbc.co.uk/childofourtime.

Find out more about how personalities are formed and how they affect our lives by ordering The Open University’s free booklet “Personality and Your Life”. Call 0845 366 8019 or go on-line at www.open2.net/childofourtime

Programme Credits
The Big Personality Test - A Child of Our Time Special is produced in partnership between The Open University and the BBC.

Executive Producer for the BBC is Dinah Lord, BBC Series Producer is Sam Starbuck, Multiplatform Commissioning Executive for the Open University is Emma De’Ath; The Broadcast Learning Executive for The Open University is Anne Stevens, The Open University academic consultants for the series are John Oates and David Messer.

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