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Biological Personality Trait Theory Essay

909 words - 4 pages

Each person is born with a personality. This means that all individuals have their own characteristics, moods, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Personality is both an individual experience, as each person experiences specific combinations that are unique, and a global experience, as humans often share similar traits (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2014). As humanity has expanded, so has interest in discovering what causes the developments of specific personality traits. While some have believed that personality is strictly caused by environment, others have believed that repetitive behavior causes specific traits to develop. One of the earliest theories regarding development of personality ...view middle of the document...

Hans Eysenck fought against the trend that claimed the personality was a combination of environment and biology and, instead, worked hard to bring his theory to the forefront. He believed that all humans function based on two separate “Supertrait” categories: 1. Extroversion—Introversion and 2. Neuroticism (AllPsych Online, 2011). He believed that each person would experience a variety of stimuli and would respond to the stimulus. Over time their specific responses would become habitual responses and they would then become “traits.” All traits can be easily categorized under Eysenck’s two “Supertraits.”
One of the key arguments against this Supertrait theory is the structured and predictability, something that humans are definitely not. This was answered with a circle diagram that demonstrated that all people are varying degrees of his predicated theory. Truth can also be found within Eysenck’s theory: people do tend to respond to specific stimuli in specific ways and it is hard to know what causes those responses. On the other hand: humans do not seem that simple. There are more traits than just Extroversion—Introversion and Neuroticism. Humans, even at the core of their biology, have more varied responses.
In response to the need for more support to explain the biology as the reason behind personality traits, S.A. Gray, a theorist who emerged in the 1970’s. Gray is best known for his “Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory (RST)” (Moss, 2009). Gray’s theory contained three components. Each component was believed to exist due to specific neural pathway. The first is the Behavioral Approach System (BAS). It was believed that the BAS functioned based on stimulus and potential rewards. Gray believed that a human’s brain could read rewards and would become stimulated based upon potentials and then create habits and responses based on known outcomes (Moss, 2009). The Fight-Flight System (FFS) was the second...

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