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7 - Neuroscience and Personality outline.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Connie Boudens

7 - Neuroscience and Personality [other biological theories] Relationship of personality and changes in:  bodily responses  brain structures  brain activity  biochemical activity Major divisions of the Nervous System:  Central Nervous System (CNS) o Brain o Spinal cord  Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) o Somatic nervous system  Afferent nerves  Efferent nerves o Autonomic nervous system  Sympathetic division  Parasympathetic division Sympathetic nervous system  “fight-or-flight” system  Non-essential activities are dampened (GI/urinary) o Heart rate increases – supply muscles with oxygen so that they can work better o Breathing is rapid and deep – increase oxygen supply to the blood o Skin is cold and sweaty o Pupils dilate o Blood diverted to skeletal muscles o Liver releases more glucose into blood  Parasympathetic is opposite Bodily Responses: MeasuringANS activity  Heart rate  Body temp and blood flow  Skin conductance (GSR – galvanic skin response)  Electromyography (EMG) – measure non-visible muscle movement Brain Structure - Measures  Static differences in relative size and weight and cell numbers of brain parts  Computerized tomography (CT) scan  Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) BrainActivity – Measures  Cortical stimulation  EEG – electric activity at different parts of the bran  PET – low radioactive glucose solution … then scan to see which areas use glucose most  fMRI – measures oxygen's magnetic properties to see which areas are active  TMS – electrode stimulated a selected area of the brain and disturbs that area BiochemicalActivity  Neurotransmitters: chemicals released by neurons to excite next neuron into action, or inhibit it o Dopamine: pleasure, movement, learning, rewards o Serotonin: mood regulation and arousal, control of sleeping and eating  Low = linked to depression o Norepinephrine and epinephrine are also considered stress hormones  increase blood flow to muscles by increasing heart rate and blood pressure  Research example – Helen Fisher o 4 styles of thinking related to different NTs using questionnaires o Now using fMRI to find neural correlates of these thinking styles/ personality traits Important Biological Theories of Personality  Eysenck’s PEN model  Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory (RST)  Temperament 1. Eysenck’s PEN model  Factors: Neuroticism, extraversion, psychoticism  Believed there would be both biological and neurological correlated for each of these factors – to account for the major differences between people on these factors  Evidence for biological correlate: o Cross-cultural universality  Means that there is some form of biological component o Consistency over time  Strong secure foundation that is invariant to what happens to people o Heritability  Eysenck believed: o Introverts: greater baseline cortical arousal, especially in theAscending ReticularActivating System (ARAS) o Thus they were always over aroused and needed a quiet place to be at a state of homeostasis o So then he hypothesized  this should also be present in sleep  BUT only difference at rest = in response to moderate stimulation  So then the theory of low baseline arousal is not the case  Rather, it seems that introverts are more arousable with the same level of stimulation than extroverts o Neuroticism: stability of Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) and vulnerability of negative emotions  High Neuroticism: increase in heart rate in response to intense stimuli  have sensitive SNS - Introverts show the same thing as well  High Neuroticism but not Introverts: greater startle response to scary pictures - Distinguishes introverts and high neuroticism - Now just need to connect it to something biological  Overall there is some evidence that High Neuroticism may be more sensitive to (-) emotions , but not necessarily to arousing situations as Introverts are  Not sufficient support for Eysenck’s hypothesis that neuroticism is related to SNS activity 2. Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory (RST)  Gray’s (1972, 1990) reinterpretation of Eysenck’s theory o This theory looks at the Neurological Systems  Think: sets of neural networks to perform a function and/or have an effect  Looking at how different neural systems are working together o Three systems this theory looks at: 1. Flight-fight-freeze system (FFFS)  punishment system - Associated with emotions of fear - Organizes our reactions to aversive stimuli - Related p
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