Flashcards in Eysenck and the PEN Deck (61)
In what way is Eysenck's PEN a theoretical approach?
It started with a theory (constructs), not data. Used the lexical approach (Klages, 1926/32): the most salient and socially relevant personality factors will be expressed as a single word. He also used Greek typology as a guide.
In what way is Eysenck's PEN a model of temperament?
It assumes a biological basis for traits (polygenic model).
What were Eysenck's two main initial supertraits?
Extraversion (E) and Neuroticism (N).
Why was Psychoticism (P) added as a supertrait later?
Because although E and N explained a lot of personality, some individuals who otherwise looked like neurotics didn’t have the anxiety component and extraversion and neuroticism alone didn’t account for variance in personality observed.
What four personality types are outlined by Greek typology?
Emotionally unstable (neurotic) :
- Melancholic e.g. moody, anxious (introverted)
- Choleric e.g. touchy, restless (extraverted)
- Phlegmatic e.g. passive, careful (introverted)
- Sanguine e.g. sociable, outgoing (extraverted)
What pattern does introversion/extraversion follow in normal populations?
Standard bell curve.
What are introverts like according to Eysenck (1967)?
- Quiet and introspective
- Prefer to spend time alone
- Well-ordered and predictable contexts
How did Eysenck & Eysenck (1975) describe extraverts?
- Externally driven
- Like parties, friends and the company of others
- Prefer excitement and stimulation
What was the original hypothesis which explained how introverts and extraverts differ?
The conditionability hypothesis.
Outline the conditionability hypothesis.
Introverts and extraverts differ in terms of readiness to learn. Introverts acquire eye-blink and GSR conditioning more readily (Eysenck, 1965) and generally learn more quickly, especially in response to punishment. However this study ignored some contradictory data.
What hypothesis replaced the conditionability hypothesis as an explanation of the differences between introverts and extraverts?
The arousal hypothesis (Eysenck, 1967).
Outline the arousal hypothesis.
Extraverts and introverts differ in terms of excitation and inhibition; introverts react more quickly and more strongly to excitation, slower and weaker to inhibition. This accounts for differences in conditionability.
What is the general arousal hypothesis?
Part of Eysenck's theory which describes the different natural frequency or arousal states of the brains of people who are introverted versus people who are extraverted.
What is the notion of the optimal level of arousal (Hebb, 1955)?
The idea that there is an optimal level of arousal which is appropriate for the given task (as stated by the Yerkes-Dodson law), and that people's optimum levels vary. Performance is poor for low and high arousal but good in the middle.
What does Wundt's hedonic curve and individual differences show?
A comparison of hedonic tone with arousal potential of situation for introverts and extraverts. Shows that introverts need less stimulation and find stimuli pleasant (compared to boring) earlier than extraverts.
What biological basis for extraversion was outlined by Eysenck?
Ascending Reticular Activating System (ARAS) activity.
What is the ARAS?
A structure in the brainstem connected to thalamus, hypothalamus and cortex which controls overall cortical arousal, regulates wakefulness, alertness, vigilance and response to sensory input, and acts as a gateway to arousal.
What did Eysenck propose about introverts' ARAS?
Higher levels of activity in the ARAS, which allows too much arousal in. Consequently they seek out contexts with low stimulation.
What did Eysenck propose about extraverts' ARAS?
Lower levels of activity in the ARAS, which allows too little arousal in. Consequently they seek out contexts with high stimulation.
What are the implications of the arousal hypothesis?
Sensory thresholds (sound, pain etc.) is lower in introverts and they seek reduction so they should show:
- Higher levels of cortical activity than extraverts (EEG)
- More autonomic nervous system activity
What was originally predicted about arousal differences between introverts and extraverts?
That they should be visible at baseline, but this was later revised to predict differences in reactivity, as the real differences between introverts and extraverts lies in arousability - baseline is the same but introverts react faster and to a greater extent.
What pattern does stability/neuroticism follow in normal populations?
Normal bell curve, where the clinical sample is the high end of curve.
Emotionally unstable - they are anxious, stressed, tearful and depressed.
How did Eysenck (1965) describe emotionally stable people?
Even tempered, quick to return to equilibrium after stress, calm and slow to react emotionally.
Outline the biological basis for neuroticism.
Neuroticism is characterised by hypersensitivity in the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which regulates emotions, especially fear. Neurotics consequently react more to threatening environments.
How does the trait of psychoticism appear in the general population?
A highly skewed curve towards low P (normality).
Describe people high in psychoticism.
Tough-minded, aggressive, cold, impulsive and lacking empathy.
What did Eysenck originally suggest as the biological basis for psychoticism?
Sex hormones, as males have higher psychoticism scores.
What biological properties is psychoticism linked to?
Dopaminergic activity (Lester, 1989), specifically D2/D3 binding in basal ganglia (Gray, Pickering & Gray, 1994), as well as spontaneous eye-blink rate as biomarker for DA production in striatum (Colzato et al., 2005).
Also linked to other biological correlates (e.g. low levels of monoamine oxidase, cortisol, noradrenaline)