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Lecture 13

lecture 13- personality and biology.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSY230H5
Professor
Ulrich Schimmack
Semester
Fall

Description
Personality and Biology Eysenck’s theory of optimal arousal  Hans Eysenck discovered extraversion and neuroticism; conducted some of the first twin studies to show heritability of extraversion and neuroticism- first neurological theory of extraversion and neuroticism  Cortical arousal- overall activity in brain and experiences of alertness; this structure is called the ascending reticular activating system (ARAS) o Eysenck speculated that ARAS could explain variation in extraversion  His theory of extraversion known as optimal arousal theory: o Moderate level of arousal is pleasant and desirable o Lower and higher levels of arousal are unpleasant and undesirable o People seek pleasure and avoid pain o Arousal influenced by situational factors o People differ in their dispositional level of arousal o **theory assumes that extraverts and introverts have same level of optimal arousal Evidence  some evidence supports hypothesis that extraverts prefer more arousing stimuli than introverts  due to lack of evidence, the optimal arousal theory is not used to explain individual differences in extraversion  theory based on outdated model of arousal as a single dimension  Thayer: two types of arousal- energetic (varies from sleepy to being wide awake) and tense (varies from being calm to being tense)  Theory assumes moderate levels of arousal are optimal and are experienced as pleasurable  Optimal arousal theory plausible attempt to provide biological theory of extraversion based on limited information about biological process in the brain; however, the theory is false Hormones and Personality  Hormones in blood send information from brain to organs in body 
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