Personality Psychology Chpt 3

*Sheldon's Physiological Approach to Personality *Physiological Measures Commonly Used in Personality Research *Physiologically Based Dimensions of Personality
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Bodily-Fluid Theory
The ancient idea that the amounts of four fluids (phlegm, blood, yellow bile and black bile) present in the body were responsible for the individual differences in personality. For example, an excess of phlegm was thought to make the person phlegmatic, that is, passive and lethargic.
Physiological Systems
Physiological systems are organ systems within the body. For example the nervous system (including the brain and nervous), the cardiac system (including the heart, arteries and veins), and the musculoskeletal system (including the muscles, and bones which make all movements and behaviors possible)
Ectomorph
The three body types suggested by William Sheldon in his physiological approach to personality: skinny (ectomorph), muscular (mesomorph) and fatty (endomorph). In his research Sheldon found that participants reater as skinny ectomorphs tended to be thoughtful and introverted, those rated as muscular mesomorphs tended to be assertive and bold, and those rated as chubby endomorphs tended to be sociable and fun-loving.
Mesomorph
The three body types suggested by William Sheldon in his physiological approach to personality: skinny (ectomorph), muscular (mesomorph) and fatty (endomorph). In his research Sheldon found that participants reater as skinny ectomorphs tended to be thoughtful and introverted, those rated as muscular mesomorphs tended to be assertive and bold, and those rated as chubby endomorphs tended to be sociable and fun-loving.
Endomorph
The three body types suggested by William Sheldon in his physiological approach to personality: skinny (ectomorph), muscular (mesomorph) and fatty (endomorph). In his research Sheldon found that participants reater as skinny ectomorphs tended to be thoughtful and introverted, those rated as muscular mesomorphs tended to be assertive and bold, and those rated as chubby endomorphs tended to be sociable and fun-loving.
Blind Ratings
Blind rating is a type of research in which the rater of one factor (e.g. body type) among a sample is "blind to" (does not know about) the ratings of another factor (e.g. personality), thereby lessening the possiblity that researcher biases or expections might influence results
Theoretical Bridge
A theoretical bridge refers to the connection between two different variables (for instance, dimensions of personality and physiological variables)
Electrodes
A sensor placed on the surface of the skin and linked to a physiological recording machine (often called a polygraph) to measure physiological variables
Telemetry
Telemetry is the process by which electrical signals are sent from electrodes to a polygraph using radio waves instead of wires
Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)
That part of the peripheral nervous system which connects to vital bodily structures associated with maintaining life and responding to emergencies (e.g. storing and releasing energy), such as the beating of the heart, respiration, and controlling blood pressure. There are two divisions of the ANS; the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches.
Electrodermal Activity (Skin Conductance)
Electrodermal activity is a method of measuring the amount of in the skin (and thereby the stress level of the subject) by the application of a small electrical charge. The more present in the skin, the more easily the skin will carry or conduct electricity. It is an indicator of sympathetic nervous system activity.
Cardiovascular Reactivity
The increase in blood pressure and heart rate during times of stress. Evidence suggests that chronic cardiac reactivity contributes to coronary artery disease. Also known as Cardiac Reactivity.
Type A Personality
In the 1960s, cardiologists Friedman and Rosenman began to notice that many of their coronary heart disease patients had similar personality traits - they were competive, aggressive, workaholics, were ambitious overachievers, were often hostile, were almost always in a hurry, and rarely relaxed or took it easy. Friedman and Rosenman referred to this as the Type A personality, formally defined as "an action-emotion complex that can be observed in any person who is aggresively involved in a chronic, incessant struggle to achieve more and more in less and less time, and if required to do so, against the opposing efforts of other things or other persons." As assessed by personality psychologists, Type A refers to a syndrome of several traits: 1- achievement motivation and competitiveness, 2- time ungency, 3- hostility and aggresiveness
Extraversion and Introversion
Extraversion and introversion refer to opposite ends of the a dimension of individual difference. An extravert is, on average, talkative, outgoing, likes meeting new people and going new places; the may be active, sometimes impulsive and venturesome, get bored easily, and hate routine and monotony. Conversely, an introvert is, on average quiet, and withdrawn, prefers being alone or with a few friends to being in large crowds, prefers routines and schedules, and the familiar to the unexpected. The dimension of introversion-extraversion is found in almost all trait taxonomies
Ascending Reticular Activating System (ARAS)
The ascending reticular activating system is a structure in the brainstem thought to control overall cortical arousal, and this was the structure Eysenck originally thought was responsible for differences between introverts and extraverts
Arousal Level verses Arousability
In Eysenck's original theory of extraversion, he held that extraverts had lower levels of cortical or brain arousal than introverts. More recent research on Eysenck's theory suggests that hte difference between introverts and extraverts lies more in the arousability of thier nervous systems, with extraverts showing less arousability or reactivity than introverts to the same levels of sensory stimulation
Reinforncement Sensitivity Theory
Reinforcement sensitivity theory is Gray's biological theory of personality. Based on recent brain function research with animals, Gray constructed a model of human personality based on two hypothesized biological systems in the brain: the Behavioral Activation System (which is responsive to incentives, such as cues for reward, and regulates approach behavior) and hte Behavioral Inhibition System (which is responsive to cues for punishment, frusteration, and uncertainty)
Behavioral Activity System (BAS)
In Gray's reinforcement sensitivity theory, the Behavioral Activity System (BAS) is the system that is resposive to incentives, such as cues for reward, and regulates aproach behavior. When some stimulus is recognized as potentially rewarding, the BAS triggers approach behavior. This system is highly correlated with the trait of extraversion
Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS)
In Gray's reinforcement sensitivity theory, the Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS) is responsive to cues fro punishment, frusteration, and uncertainty. The effect of BIS activation is to cease or inhibit behavior or to bring about avoidance behavior. This system is highly correlated iwth the trait of neuroticism.
Anxiety
According to Gray's reinforcement sensitivity theory, people differ from each other in the relative sensitivity of thier Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS) and the Behavioral Activation System (BAS). Accord to Gray, the BIS is responsible for the personality dimension of anxiety and the BAS is responsible for the personality dimension of impulsivity.
Impulsivity
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Sensation Seeking
Senation seeking is a dimension of personality postulated to have a physiological basis. It refers to the tendency to seek out thrilling and excitingactivities, to take risks, and to avoid boredom
Sensory Deprivation
Often done in a sound-proof chamber containing water in which a person foat, in total darkness, such that sensory input is reduced to a minimum. Researchers used sensory deprivation chambers to see what happens when a person is prived of sensory input
Optimal Level Arousal
Hebb's believed that people are motivated to reach an optimal level of arousal. If they are underaroused relative to this level, and increase in arousal is rewarding; conversely, if they are overaroused, a decrease in arousal is rewarding. By optimal level of arousal Hebb meant a level that is "just right" for any given task
Neurotransmitter
Neurotransmitters are those chemicals in the nerve cells that are responsible for the transmittion of a nerve impulse from one cell to another. Some theories of personality are based directly on different amounts of neurotransmitters found in the nervous system
Monoamine Oxidase (MAO)
Monoamine oxidase (MAO) is an enzyme found in the blood that is known to regulate neurotransmitters, those chemicals that carry messages between nerve cells. MAO may be a causal factor in the personality trait of sensation seeking
Dopamine
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that appears to be associated with pleasure. Dopamine appears to function something like the "reward system" and has even been call the "feeling good" chemical
Serotonin
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in depression and other mood disorders. Drugs such as Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil block the re-uptake of serotonin, leaving it in the synapse longer, leading a depressed person to feel less depressed
Norepinepherine
Norepinepherine is a neurotransmitter involved in activating the sympathetic nervous system for flight or fight
Tridimensional Personality Model
Cloninger's tridemensional personality model ties three specific personality traits to levels of the three neurotransmitters. The first trait is called novelty seeking and is based on low levels of dopamine. The second personality trait is harm avoidance, which he associates with low levels of serotonin. The third trait is reward dependence, which Cloninger sees as related to low levels of norepinephrine
Novelty Seeking
In Cloninger's tridimensional personality model, the personality trait of novelty seeking is based on low levels of dopamine. Low levels of dopamine create a drive to obtain substances or experiences that increase dopamine. Novelty and thrills and excitement can make up for low levels of dopamine, and so novelty seeking behavior is thought to result from low levels of this neurotransmitter.
Harm Avoidance
In Cloninger's tridimensional personality model, the personality trait of harm avoidance is associated with low levels of serotonin. People low in serotonin are sensitive to unpleasant stimuli or events that have been associated with punishment or pain. Consequently, people low in serotonin seem to expect harmful and unpleasent events will happen to them, and so they are constantly vigilant for signs of such threatening events
Reward Dependence
In Cloningers tridimentional personality model, the personality trait of reward dependence is associated with low levels of norepinephrin. People high on this trait are persistent, they continue to act in ways that produced the reward. They work long hours, put a lot of effort into their work, and will often continue striving after others have given up
Strength of the Nervous System
Pavlov felt that he could reveal individual differences in strength of hte nervous system by measuring how well an organism learns from classical conditioning. Pavlov found that dogs with weak nervous systems -the more sensitive animals - conditioned more quickly that the dogs with strong nervous systems. Pavlov also generalized these findings from dogs to humans, and thus has proposed a theory of personality. This work did not gain as much attention as his work on classical conditioning, and so Pavlov's theory of personality is not widely known in the United States
Morningness-Eveningness
Refers to stable differences between persons in preferences for being active at different times of the day. The term "morningness-eveningness" was coined to refer to this dimension. Differences between morning-types and evening-types of persons appear to be due to differences in the length of their underlying circadian biological rhythms
Circadian Rythm
Many biological processes fluctuate around an approximate 24-25 hour cycle. These are called circadian rhythms (cira=around dia=day). Circadian rhythms in temporal isolation studies have been found to be as short as 16 hours in one person, and as long as 50 hours in another person
Free Running
Refers to a condition is studies of ciradian rhythms, where participants are deprived from knowing what time it is, e.g. meals are served when the participant asks for them, not at pre-scheduled times. When a person is free-running in time, there are no time cues to influence their behavior or biology
Electroencephalograph (EEG)
The brain spontaneously produces small amounts of electricity, which can be measured by eletrodes placed on the scalp. This measure is called the eletroencephalogram (EEG). EEGs can provide useful information about patterns of activation in different regions of the brain that may be associated with different types of information processing tasks
Frontal Brain Asymmetry
Asymmetry in the amount of activity in the left and right part of the frontal hemispheres of the brain. Studies using EEG measures have linked more relative brain activity with pleasant emtions and more relative right brain activity with negative emotions
Alpha Wave
The alpha wave is a particular type of brain wave that oscillates 8 to 12 times a second. The amount of alpha wave present in a given time period is an inverse indicator of brain activity during that time period. The alpha wave is given off when the person is calm and relaxed. In a given time period of brain wave recording, the more alpha wave activity present the more we can assume that part of the brain was less active
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