Week 16 Biological theories - session.pdf

Week 16 Biological theories - session.pdf - Theories of...

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Theories of Personality 2 BIOLOGICAL AND GENETIC 1 PSY3009 and PSY4023 Dr Jackie Meredith
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Today’s Learning Outcomes To become familiar with the bases behind some of the major theories of biological bases to personality And how research has attempt to validate these claims To appreciate how phenotypes are linked to personality and behaviour 2
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What is a biological base? Not just genetics inheritance The broader concept that our minds and behaviour – in this case linked to stable tendencies or traits – is linked to our physiology A biological reason why we demonstrate individual differences in personality and personality related actions This does not DENY the effect of nurture, but rather presents an EPIGENETIC account Nature is reinforced or modified by nurture The biological theory of personality is therefore restricted to those aspects which demonstrate a biological base for difference. 3
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Is it all nature? Trait theory is based on a biological premise – that basic dispositional tendencies in our reaction to the environment are heritable and genetic Traditionally trait psychologists and social learning theorists (more of SLT next week) stand on opposing sides of a very strong theoretical wall. For social learning theorists personality is a situational construct, shaped by experience, society and social learning. Trait psychology comes with a clearly defined package of assumptions: heritability of traits ‘feed-forward’ of individual differences from brain function into behaviour and learning – we learn how we do because of who we are… HOWEVER THE WALL IS CRUMBLING Behavioural and molecular genetic evidence confirms that biology plays some role in personality traits. Many social learning theorists recognise that traits have at least some validity and are exploring social cognitive explanations for their stability and influence on behaviour (e.g. Snyder, 1992). (More in two weeks time) Trait psychologists are now developing information-processing models where cognitive factors are stronger causal factors in the development of individual differences than are biological factors (e.g. Revelle, 1993). Nature and nurture together may explain the development of individual differences. 4 Trait Approach Social Learning Approach
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5 Basic premise: Our behaviour, mental health, characteristics, talents and predilections are due to the activity of our brains.
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Temperament linked to the brain Franz Joseph Gall (1758–1828) – best known for the psuedo-science ‘Phrenology’ gave a new focus to the understanding of human personality in his principles: That moral and intellectual faculties are innate That their exercise or manifestation depends on organization That the brain is the organ of all the propensities, sentiments and faculties That the brain is composed of as many particular organs as there are propensities, sentiments and faculties which differ essentially from each other.
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