1: Introduction to Biological Theory
2: Hans Eysenck's Structure of Personality
3: Temperament and Personality
4: Biological Theory: Research and Trends
years, biological theory played a significant role
in our view of human development and personality.
Toward the beginning of the 2oth Century, however,
views began to change and personality was seen as
involving both biology and environment. Hans
Eysenck, however, fought against this trend.
By using the statistic known as Factor
Analysis, he concluded that all human traits
can be broken down into two distinct categories:
called these categories Supertraits
(See figure below). According to his theory,
everyone exhibits specific responses to both internal
and external stimuli. These specific responses
will vary according to the intensity of the stimuli,
the situation, state of mind, and many other factors.
At some point, however, we will begin to see trends
in how we respond. A person who is very concerned
with how other people view her, might shy away from
a stranger in most specific situations. When
this behavior becomes the normal way to respond
to new people, the response then becomes a habit.
now that she also avoids public settings where a
large number of people gather, or possibly limits
her social activity to only a few trusted friends.
When all of these habitual responses are combined,
the become part of a larger group known as a trait.
In this case, the trait may be called shyness or
perhaps even social phobia.
trait, Social phobia, is a component of one of the
three supertraits, introversion-extroversion.
If we see that she also prefers soft music over
loud music, intellectual pursuits over than team
sports, or other similar solo activities, we could
then classify her as an introvert.
we look at an individuals specific responses, combine
them into habitual responses, further develop a
set of specific traits and then determine where
they fall on the two supertraits, we would notice
that the vast differences in personality prohibit
us from such a simple theory. Because of this,
Eysenck argued that there were varying degrees of
each of the two supertraits and most of us fall
somewhere on the spectrum between Stable versus
Unstable (neurotic) and Introverted versus Extroverted.
figure below describes that diagram. The person
who is high on extroversion and high on stability
may fall in the lower right quadrant of the circle.
Those who are less stable and more introverted would
fall somewhere in the upper left. According
to this diagram, each of us will ultimately fall
somewhere on the circle based on a sum of our responses