Eysenck

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Eysenck is a behaviorist who believed in a biological basis for all personality. Along with his genetic acknowledgments, he also mentioned the importance of learned habits and environmental factors in the formation of personality traits. He stressed his belief that genetic inheritance directly affects personality. He utilized physiological measurements and psychometric components to define personality. Eysenck has determined a number of dimensions that personality is derived. These dimensions are known as supertraits. He believed that his three bipolar constructs would accurately determine the personality of any individual. While he recognized that some dimensions of personality are altered through environment he based his three supertraits mainly on genetic and physiological factors. “He estimated that about three fourths of the variance of all three personality dimensions can be accounted for by heredity and about one fourth by environment.” (Feist, 2009, p. 415). Eysenck had four specific criteria in establishing factors of personality. His first criteria were based on finding validity through techniques of measurement. As he clearly states “psychometric evidence for the factors existence must be established.” (Feist, 2009, p. 408). Second, the factor must fit into a genetic model and possess heredity in order to remove learned characteristics. This factor appears to be a means to an end, according to Eysenck; the factor must have a genetic model. According to this statement, Eysenck would never consider Leary’s personality factors to be of any value, as they have only loose biological ties. His third stipulated criteria are as follows; “the factor must make sense from a theoretical view” (Feist, 2009, p. 408). Finally the factor must possess social relevance, in order to demonstrate a relationship. His criteria appear quite strict in comparison to Timothy Leary’s factors, which are primarily based on biological motivations, themes and reflexes. Eysenck correlates physiological inheritance with three major dimensions of personality: Extraversion, Neuroticism and psychoticism. All of which are thought of as bipolar factors, having each extreme on either end. For example, the superego is the contrary of psychoticism. Introverts are commonly quite, and reserved focusing more on inner experiences. By definition an extrovert is the polar opposite of an introvert being of a more lively and optimistic nature. Extroverts focus attention on outward environments and people often characterized by being social and outgoing. In this model neuroticism is related to a range of emotional stability. This reference to stability is in regards to a person’s tendency to act either emotionally consistent or emotionally unstable. Neuroticism is also associated with negative emotions such as depression, anxiety and tension. Psychoticism was not always included as a dimension in his theory, however after Eysenck worked with sufferers of mental illness he decided to make the addition of psychoticism. This dimension refers to a person’s ability to deal with reality. Psychoticism personalities are described as egocentric, hostile, antisocial, manipulative and lacking empathy for others. From a biological stand point; Eysenck identifies two major brain systems as components of personality determining extroversion and introversion. The first being Reticulo-limbic circuit that controls reactions to emotional stimuli. A person’s emotional stability is theoretically derived from this circuit. It is also noted that when under very strong emotional stimulation the arousal may spread through the limbic system into the cortex. The second system is known as the reticulo-cortical circuit which controls cortical arousal created when stimuli is received. This circuit is related to personality in terms of arousal thresholds found in individuals. The amount of arousal one typically experiences in this circuit represents whether a person is either an...
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