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HANS EYSENCK(TM)S THEORY OF PERSONALITY

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Introduction

HANS EYSENCK'S THEORY OF PERSONALITY Hans Eysenck (1916 - 1997) was a psychologist best remembered for his work on intelligence and personality, though he worked in a wide range of areas (Hans Eysenck). Eysenck was a psychologist at Mill Hill hospital during World War Two, where he conducted research concerning the reliability of psychiatric diagnosis (Sandra Jones, 2007). Earlier in 1950's Eysenck's theory measured personality according to two scalable dimensions, neuroticism (stability-instability) and introversion-extraversion (Alan Chapman, 2005); but later; in the late 1970s he realized that psychoticism was also a contributing factor of personality. He then added psychoticism into his theory as the third factor of his model giving birth to his Big-Three model of personality (Porzio, 2003). Figure: Eysenck's Factor Model of Personality (Copyright (c)a2zpsychology.com (2002-2006)) 1. NEUROTICISM Eysenck referred the tendency to experience negative emotions to neuroticism (Hans Eysenck). It's a dimension that ranges from normal, fairly calm and collected people to one's that tend to be quite "nervous." ...read more.

Middle

Emotionally stable people, who have a high activation threshold, experience negative affect only in the face of very major stressors--i.e., they are calm under pressure (PEN Model, 1999). 2. EXTRAVERSION-INTROVERSION The second dimension of his theory is extraversion-introversion; shy, quiet people versus out-going, even loud people. Eysenck hypothesized that extraversion-introversion is a matter of the balance of inhibition and excitation in the brain itself. Someone who is extraverted, he hypothesized, has good, strong inhibition (Dr. Boeree, 1998). Dr. C. George Boeree, in his 1998 article titled 'Hans Eysenck and other Temperament Theorists', summarized Eysenck's hypothesis of excitation and inhibition by the following: "An extrovert is someone who, when faced with a trauma, such as a car crash is 'numbed' to the experience. He remembers little of the circumstances of the accident and needs details to be supplied to him. As he remembers nothing, he continues to be unaffected and learns very little from his mistakes. An introvert, however, would remember everything about the crash in minute detail and is unlikely to carry on the activity as normal - he learns from his mistakes." ...read more.

Conclusion

Highly neuroticistic extraverts, on the other hand, are good at ignoring and forgetting the things that overwhelm them. They engage in the classic defense mechanisms, such as denial and repression of emotions or problems. They can conveniently forget a painful weekend, for example, or even "forget" their ability to feel and use their legs (Dr. Boeree, 1998). 3. PYSCHOTICISM At a latter stage in his research from his studies of mentally disturbed people, Eysenck added a third dimension of psychoticism. It can be related to risk-taking and eccentricity (Alan Chapman, 2005). This grouping of people seems to encompass what is commonly termed 'social misfit'. These people are often found to be cruel, insensitive and have no care for other people's feelings or existence (Sandra, 2007). His description of psychoticism states that a person will exhibit some qualities commonly found among psychotics, and that they may be more susceptible, given certain environments, to becoming psychotic. Examples of such psychotic tendencies include recklessness, disregard for common sense, and inappropriate emotional expression to name a few (Porzio, 2003).Psychoticism is associated not only with the liability to have a psychotic episode (or break with reality), but also with aggression (PEN Model, 1999). ...read more.

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