Chapter 7 personality.docx

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26 Apr 2012
Early approaches to personality types (& criticisms of these approaches)
- Galen thought that 4 types of bodily fluids influenced personality or character
o Phlegmatic = abundance of phlegm (calm)
o Sanguine = abundance of blood (happy, outgoing)
o Choleric = abundance of yellow bile (unstable, aggressive)
o Melancholic = abundance of black bile (pessimistic, unhappy)
- Physiological characteristics= functioning of organ systems within the body
- Physiological systems = nervous system (brain and nerves), the cardiac system (heart, arteries,
and veins), and the musculoskeletal system (muscles, bones)
- Introverts have overly sensitive nervous system
- Physiological theories based on simplicity or parsimony
o Sensation seekers may have chemical deficiency
o Criticism: human nature is more complex than that
- Physiological theories must create a theoretical bridge = specific statements- about which
traits are connected to which psychological reaction under which conditions or in response to
which stimuli
Ways of measuring physiology (what they can tell us, and their limitations)
- Electrodes = sensors placed on the surface of a participant`s skin
o Noninvasive
o Most common
o Drawback is patient is wired to machinery
o Telemetry= process by which electrical signals are sent from the participant to the polygraph
though radio waves instead of by wires
- Electrodermal Activity:
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o Measures sweat glands that are influenced by sympathetic nervous system = branch of the
autonomic nervous system that prepares the body for action (“flight-or-fight response”)
o Electrodermal activity (aka skin conductance) = measured by using small amount of electricity
as water (sweat) is conductive; the more sweat, the more conductance
Two electrodes on palm of hand; difference between two electrical readings
o Person high in anxiety and neuroticism appear to have a sympathetic nervous system that is in a
state of chronic activation
- Cardiovascular Activity:
o Involves heart and associated blood vessels, measured by blood pressure and heart rate
Blood pressure increase can be caused by activation of sympathetic nervous system
Beats-per-minute (BPM); heart rate increases with sympathetic nervous system activation and
cognitive effort
o Cardiac reactivity = some people show much larger increases that others
Associated with Type A personality = behavior pattern characterized by impatience,
competitiveness and hostility
Higher likelihood of heart disease and heart attacks
Chronic cardiac reactivity contributes to coronary artery disease
- Brain Activity:
o Produces small amounts of electricity, can be measured by electrodes on the scalp =
electroencephalogram (EEG)
Can measure regional activity in the brain
o Evoked potential technique = brain EEG measured but participant is given a stimulus and the
researcher assesses the participant’s responsiveness to that stimulus
o Brain imaging techniques
Positron Emission Tomography
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functional magnetic resonance imaging = can show which portions of the brain are active while
the person is performing a task
noninvasive techniques for mapping the structure and function of the brain
neuroticism correlated with increased frontal brain activation to negative images
extraversion correlated with increased frontal brain activation to positive images
- Other:
o Biochemical analyses of blood and saliva
Testosterone = uninhibited, aggressive and risk-taking behaviours
immune functioning varies with stress and emotions
Cortisol = by-product of the hormone noradrenaline
high in shy children
Monoamine oxidase (MAO) = enzyme found in blood that is known to regulate
neurotransmitters, the chemicals that carry messages between the nerve cells
Sensation seeking
Hebb, Eysenck, Gray, Geen, Zuckerman their research & results according to each of these
theorists, what do we know about personality?
- Optimal level of arousal= people are motivated to reach an optimal level of arousal
o Underaroused, relative to this level, an increase in arousal is rewarding
o Overarousal, relative to this level, a decrease in arousal is rewarding
- We are motivated to seek out tension and stimulation
- Proposed that introverts are characterized by higher levels of activity in the brain’s ascending
reticular activating system (ARAS)
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