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Lecture 6

PSY230H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Electrodermal Activity, David Buss, Twin StudyPremium


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY230H1
Professor
Amanda Sharples
Lecture
6

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Lecture 5: The Biological approach.
1. Hierarchical model of personality
Hans Eysenck
- Argued that using 5 traits (The big 5) was too many to describe a person’s
behaviour.
- Also said that both biological and environmental factors should be taken
account into how traits develop, and why people have certain variations in
traits. (Eg. Extroversion vs. Introversion)
There are 2 aspects of biological factors.
I. Heritability
II. Physiological substrates.
- People in the same family will more likely to share a similar trait rather than
people from different families, which means that genetic factors also
influence our traits.
- Eysenck’s Hierarchical Model
A model that was developed by Hans Eysenck.
He argued that we should consider traits in different levels, like a
hierarchy.
(Lecture slides)
There are 4 levels in the hierarchy
I. Supertrait level personality dimension that includes many
relevant traits. (the PEN model)
II. Trait level pattern of behaviors relevant to specific trait.
III. Habitual response level specific behaviors people would
consistently engage in.
could be related to the whole trait theory which is one
could react in a way that’s against their personality (Eg. An
extraverted person could sometimes choose not to engage in
social interactions because they are busy studying)

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IV. Specific response level specific behaviors a given situation.
- He argued that all traits can be subsumed within 3 personality dimensions.
(PEN model)
I. Extroversion / Introversion people that are friendly, sociable,
outgoing, impulsive or willing to take the lead.
He argued that there are biological reasonings for a person to be high
on this trait.
People that are introverted tend to have a higher level of cortical
arousal when it comes to social interactions, whereas extroverted
people have less.
He argued that an extroverted person would seek for social
interactions in order to get that arousal. And it’s ideal to stay in the
optimal zone of cortical arousal level in order to be healthy, too much
arousal can be exhausting.
An introverted people will likely to avoid social interactions in order
to keep low on arousal.
Brain activities is usually measured by EEG, which is related to the
social reward that people get from social interactions. An extroverted
person tends to be more sensitive to social cues in the environment,
whereas an introvert will find social interactions less rewarding.
Skin conductance measuring nervous system activation. (Eg.
Sweating)
II. Neuroticism experience greater stress, worry and tend to be a
perfectionist.
Related to negative emotions. (emotional stability)
Has a psychophysiological component specifically has to do with the
autonomic nervous system (ANS) and sensitivity to the sympathetic
nervous system (SNS) fight or flight response being activated.
People high on neuroticism has more activated SNS and they tend to
have faster heart rate and blood pressure, as well as sweating and
muscular tension.
III. Psychoticism (Low in Agreeableness + low in Consciousnesses)
Likely to engage in more irresponsible behaviors and do not care
about social norms.
Tend to behave aggressively, be egocentric and impersonal.
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Sociopath and selfish: do not care about others but how others can
benefit them.
Biological approach: related to hormones.
o Eg. Testosterone related to motion regulation, involved in
aggressive behaviors and negative emotions.
However, testosterone does not necessarily have to do with
aggression. It’s more related with social status.
People that have high levels of testosterone care more about
their place in the status hierarchy and engage in behaviors to
protect it.
- He later created this table featuring the first 2 supertraits that he proposed,
including introversion & extroversion as well as emotional stabilities.
(lecture slides)
2. Approaches in studying Genetics and biological explanations for personality.
Genes People from the same family who share similar genes tends to have a
similar likelihood of being high or low for a particular trait.
- An inherited trait vs. The heritability of a trait.
An inherited trait is the average level of a specific trait in human
beings as a specie. (biological)
The heritability of a trait is the variability of a specific trait around the
average. (environmental)
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