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Chapter 12

Chapter 12 - Biological Traits

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Marc A Fournier

Chapter 12 – Biological Traits  Eysenck tried for a model of personality that can be tested  Advocated biosocial approach that included genetics and environment Constructing a Model of Personality  Pointed out that the study of human behaviour must use scientific methods  Insisted a scientific model of personality with two aspects o Description of personality from factor analytic studies o Causal analysis based on experimental tests  A model of personality must reflect individual differences interacting with normalities of human behaviour  Was commited to the hypothetical-deductive methods in which one begins with a tentative hypothesis which can be deduced into predictions that can be tested  Believed psychology must understand individual differences in order to distinguish which responses in an experiment are due to manipulation of independant variable and which are due to differences  His theory was frequently discounted, but this meant that it was scientific because it was subject to error o He constantly revised his theories The Identification of Superfactors  Cattell used factor analysis and drew conclusions from the clusters, Eysenck started with a hypothesis THEN did factor analysis The Hierarchal Model of Personality  At the bottom are specific responses – behaviours that we can observe  Next is habitual responses – clusters of behaviours that occur in similar situations o Example – buying groceries  Next is traits – clusters of related habitual responses such as source traits  At the top is a broad general dimension such as extraversion  Two fundamental personality dimensions or superfactors: o Extraversion versus introversion  Degree to which person is outgoing and sociable o Emotionality versus stability  Degree to which person has adjustment to environment and stability of behaviour over time  The degree to which one is neurotic  A last dimension is psychotism – inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality o Is not a dimension with an opposite pole, it is one that occurs in varying degrees in the individual  Believed these dimensions are primarily genetic Comparisons with Cattell and the Big Five  Cattell emphasized traits, eynsenck super traits  Eysenck believed cattell put too much emphasis on factor analysis  Cattell’s personality factors were oblique – they were correlated with each others  Eysenck’s were orthogonal – they did not correlate with each other  Low measures of agreeableness and concientousness are similar to psychotism  Tried to go beyond cattell’s descriptive theory and create a testable theory of individual differences Measurement of Traits  Eysenck was active in developing appropriate measures to quantify his concepts  Personality inventory questionnaires were flawed due to lying and not knowing the truth about themselves  There was also no criterion against to make measurements  Eysenck improved personality inventory questionnaires through criterion analysis - began with a hypothesis about an underlying variable, identified two criterion groups (that were and were not clear examples of the criterion)  Criterion analysis showed how sensitive a question is to a particular variable, and allowed to develop questionnaires that distinguished between the two groups Looking For Causal Agents of Behaviour Eysenck’s Hypothetical Causal Explanations  Individuals with weak excitatory and strong inhibitory potentials are likely to be extraverted o Less sensitive and aroused, so they continually look for outside stimuli o Are insensitive to low stimulation because their strong inhibitory supressions  Individuals with strong excitatory and weak inhibitory potentials are introverted o The more aroused introvert needs to withdraw so that they are not overwhelmed  Hull’s drive theory states that as drives intensify, it leads to inhibition of the original drive o Thus introverts who have higher drives (excitatory processes) will be inhibited easier  Reticular activating system if related to introversion –extraversion o Is an area responsible for arousal o Introverts may have higher RAS activity that extrovers  Visceral brain (hypothalamus and amygala) is related to stability – neuroticism o Individuals with a low threshold in the VB are more likely to be readily viscerally aroused and be emotional or neurotic  Yerkes – Dodson believed that arousal and performance are curvilinear, and that optimal   performance occurs at moderate levels of arousal o Eysenck believed stable extraverts would have the best performance while neurotic introverts would have the works  The causal theory for the dimension of psychoticism was due to a sex hormone balance o Androgens are in a lesser degree in women than men, which is why men have higher scores on psychoticism New Research on Brain Functioning  Behaviour inhibition system regulates avoidance behaviours and negative emotions o May be associated with neurotocism and anxiety  Behavioural approach system is associated with approach behaviours and positive emotions o May be associated with extraversion  Human brains undergoing change with personalities due to technology The Biological Basis of Behaviour and Neurosis  Four types of personality types based on combination of reticular activation system arousal and
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