As we get older, our personalities tend to mature in a typical fashion – we become more emotionally stable, but also more closed-minded. So the discomfiting sense that you’re turning into your mum may be because your personality is becoming more like hers was when you established your formative memories of her.

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Of course, it’s worth remembering that, assuming you were not adopted (or born via a surrogate or egg donor), then you will share half your mother’s DNA, on average. So as much as you may have tried to rebel in adolescence, it’s not that surprising that your similarity to her is beginning to shine through (about half the variation in personality from one person to another is down to genetic differences).

However, research from California compared the average personality profiles of two different generations – women born in the 1920s and in the 1950s. It found that, on average, women are becoming more confident and ambitious. So while you may be turning into your mum in some respects, it’s likely you are a more outgoing, self-assured 21st Century version.

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Authors

Dr Christian Jarrett is a cognitive neuroscientist, science writer and author. He is the Deputy Editor of Psyche, the sister magazine to Aeon that illuminates the human condition through psychology, philosophy and the arts. Jarrett also created the British Psychological Society's Research Digest blog and was the first ever staff journalist on the Society's magazine, The Psychologist. He is author of Great Myths of The Brain and Be Who You Want: Unlocking the Science of Personality Change.

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