BIOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS OF PERSONALITY

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QUESTIONS TO BE ADDRESSED IN THIS CHAPTER. Are infants born with differences in temperament? If so, what are the biological bases for these differences?How can the study of human evolution inform our understanding of personality today?What role do genes play in the formation of personality? How
BIOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS OF PERSONALITY

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1. Chapter 9 BIOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS OF PERSONALITY

2. QUESTIONS TO BE ADDRESSED IN THIS CHAPTER Are infants born with differences in temperament? If so, what are the biological bases for these differences? How can the study of human evolution inform our understanding of personality today? What role do genes play in the formation of personality? How do genes interact with the environment in determining personality? What is the relation between brain processes and personality processes?

3. TEMPERAMENT PROSPECTIVE STUDIES The New York Longitudinal Study (NYLS) followed over 100 children from birth to adolescence using parental reports of infants' reactions to a variety of situations to define variations in temperament 3 infant temperament types: Easy = playful and adaptable Difficult = fussy and unadaptable Slow-to-warm-up = low reactivity and mild in responding

4. TEMPERAMENT PROSPECTIVE STUDIES The NYLS found a link between differences in infant temperament and later personality Easy babies were least likely to have later maladjustment Difficult babies were most likely to have later maladjustment The parental environment best suited for babies of one temperament type might not be best for those with a different temperament

5. TEMPERAMENT CONSTITUTIONAL BASIS Buss & Plomin (1975, 1984) used parental ratings of behavior to define 4 dimensions of temperament: Emotionality Activity Sociability Impulsivity (impulsivity was dropped later - not found to be a distinct dimension via factor analysis) Temperaments show evidence of Stability over time and being largely inherited

6. TEMPERAMENT PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT Inhibited and Uninhibited Children Jerome Kagan observed children in laboratory settings and identified 2 distinctive temperament profiles: Inhibited child Reacts to unfamiliar people and events with restraint, distress, and avoidance Requires more time to relax in new situations Has more unusual fears (phobias) Uninhibited child Seems to enjoy these very same situations Responds with spontaneity to novel situations, laughing and smiling easily

7. TEMPERAMENT PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT Inhibited and Uninhibited Children Kagan hypothesized that inherited differences will tend to be stable during development Studied children at 14 months, 21 months, 4.5 years, and 8 years At 14 and 21 months and at 4.5 and 8 years, inhibited kids relative to uninhibited kids showed More fearful behavior Greater heart-rate acceleration Increased blood pressure in response to unfamiliar stimuli and situations

8. TEMPERAMENT PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT Inhibited and Uninhibited Children Although there is stability in temperament, there also is evidence of change Many inhibited infants did not become fearful Change seemed tied to caretakers who were not overly protective and placed reasonable demands on these children Some uninhibited infants lost their relaxed style The environment appears to play an important role in modulating the expression of biologically based personality styles

9. TEMPERAMENT PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT Schwartz et al. (2003) studied young adults categorized as highly inhibited or uninhibited at 2 years of age Prediction - inhibited adults would be more responsive to pictures of unfamiliar versus familiar faces fMRI was used to identify brain structures activated by visual stimuli When they viewed unfamiliar faces, adults who had been identified as inhibited in childhood showed signifcantly higher levels of reactivity in the amygdala

11. EVOLUTION AND PERSONALITY 2 types of biological causes of behavior: Proximate causes = biological processes operating within the organism at the time behavior is observed Ultimate causes = why a given biological mechanism has become part of the organism and why it responds to the environment in a certain way

12. EVOLUTION AND PERSONALITY Ultimate causes are grounded in the view that some biological features are better-suited to a given environment than others Organisms that possess certain biological mechanisms are more likely to survive and reproduce Over generations, the world is increasingly populated by organisms that possess adaptive biological mechanisms, which themselves evolve

13. EVOLUTION AND PERSONALITY Human functioning today is viewed in terms of evolved solutions to adaptive problems faced by humans over eons (natural selection) Basic elements of human nature can be understood in terms of evolved psychological mechanisms that have adaptive value, specifically, survival and reproductive success Evolved psychological mechanisms are adaptive to life as a hunter-gatherer, but may no longer be generally adaptive (e.g., taste preference for fat)

14. EVOLUTION AND PERSONALITY Mental modules = multiple information- processing devices, each of which processes information about a specific domain of life For example, attracting a mate is a distinct problem of great evolutionary significance To solve it, we purportedly have evolved a mental module that is activated when we encounter tasks pertaining to mate attraction

15. EVOLUTION AND PERSONALITY MATE PREFERENCES AND JEALOUSY Parental Investment Theory (Trivers, 1972) Biological differences between the sexes cause women to invest more in parenting Women can pass their genes on to fewer offspring than can men There are limited time periods during which women are fertile Women have a more limited age range during which they can produce offspring

16. EVOLUTION AND PERSONALITY MATE PREFERENCES AND JEALOUSY Women have different and stronger preferences about mating partners than do men Women seek men with potential for providing resources and protection Men focus on the reproductive potential of a woman Are these preferences evident in current patterns of attraction?

17. EVOLUTION AND PERSONALITY MATE PREFERENCES AND JEALOUSY Parenthood Probability Theory - Buss Women can always be certain that they are the mothers of their offspring Men cannot be as sure Thus, men are more concerned about sexual rivals and place greater value on chastity in a potential mate than do women

18. EVOLUTION AND PERSONALITY MATE PREFERENCES AND JEALOUSY 3 hypotheses from parental investment and parenthood probability theories: A woman's "mate value" for a man will be determined by her reproductive capacity and chastity A man's "mate value" for a woman will be determined by the resources he can provide Men and women will differ in the events that activate jealousy (sexual vs. emotional)

19. EVOLUTION AND PERSONALITY MATE PREFERENCES Buss (1989) - 37 samples, > 10,000 individuals from 33 countries on six continents: In all groups, men valued physical attractiveness and youth in potential mates more than did women Mens? preference for chastity in potential mates was found in 23 of 37 samples In 36 groups, women valued the financial capacity of potential mates more than did men Women preferred ambition and industriousness in potential mates more than did men in 29 of 37 samples

20. EVOLUTION AND PERSONALITY JEALOUSY Buss et al. (1992) tested the hypothesis of sex differences in jealousy Undergraduates were asked if they would feel more distressed in response to sexual infidelity or emotional infidelity 60% of men reported greater subjective distress over a partner's sexual infidelity 83% of women reported greater subjective distress over a partner's emotional attachment to a rival

21. EVOLUTION AND PERSONALITY JEALOUSY Physiological measures of distress were taken on undergraduates who imagined a partner becoming sexually versus emotionally involved with someone else Men showed more autonomic distress to a partner's possible sexual involvement Women showed more autonomic distress to a partner's possible emotional involvement

22. EVOLUTION AND PERSONALITY ORIGINS OF SEX DIFFERENCES: HOW STRONG ARE THE DATA? Eagly & Wood (1999) found that in societies with greater gender equality Women were less concerned with a man's earning capacity Men were less concerned with a woman's child-bearing capacity Data are consistent with a biosocial view of sex differences (i.e., the interaction of biological differences and social roles)

23. GENES AND PERSONALITY BEHAVIORAL GENETICS = the study of genetic contributions to behavior Selective Breeding Animals with a desired trait are selected and mated over successive generations to produce a strain that is consistent for the desired trait Study a strain?s typical behavioral tendencies and/or how different strains respond to diverse experimentally controlled developmental environments Researchers can separate the effects of genetic from environmental differences on later behavior

24. GENES AND PERSONALITY BEHAVIORAL GENETICS Twin Studies Twins provide a naturally occurring experiment If two organisms are identical genetically, but experience different environments, later similarities can be explained by genetic factors If two organisms are different genetically, but experience the same environment, later differences can be explained by genetic factors

25. GENES AND PERSONALITY BEHAVIORAL GENETICS Twin Studies The difference in similarity between MZ (identical) twins and DZ (fraternal) twins is crucial to estimating the effects of genetics If genetics influence a personality characteristic, then MZ twins should be more similar on that characteristic than DZ twins If there is no genetic influence on a personality characteristic, then no difference is expected between MZ twins and DZ twins on that characteristic

26. GENES AND PERSONALITY BEHAVIORAL GENETICS Twin Studies Studies in which MZ and DZ twins are reared apart show that the effects of biology are found across different environments MZ twins reared apart were as similar to one another as were MZ twins reared together The degree of similarity between twins can be seen in correlations ranging from .4 to .6

27. GENES AND PERSONALITY BEHAVIORAL GENETICS Adoption Studies Are biological siblings more similar to one another than are adopted siblings? Are biological siblings more similar to their parents than adopted siblings are to theirs? Are adopted siblings more similar to their biological parents than to their adopted parents? Affirmative answers to these questions suggest the importance of genetics

29. GENES AND PERSONALITY BEHAVIORAL GENETICS Heritability Coefficient h2 - the proportion of variation in a characteristic that can be attributed to genetic factors Refers to variation within the population; h2 does not indicate the degree to which genetics account for an individual?s characteristics Based on the difference between MZ and DZ correlations If MZ twins are no more similar to each another than are DZ twins, then h2 = 0 If MZ twins differ greatly from DZ twins, the h2 is large

31. GENES AND PERSONALITY GENE-ENVIRONMENT INTERACTIONS Shared and Nonshared Environments Shared environments = environments shared by siblings as a result of growing up in the same family Nonshared environments = environments not shared by siblings growing up in the same family

32. GENES AND PERSONALITY GENE-ENVIRONMENT INTERACTIONS Shared and Nonshared Environments If shared environments are important, then Biological siblings reared together will be more similar than if reared apart Adopted siblings reared together should be more similar than if reared apart If nonshared environments are important, then Biological siblings reared together will be no more similar than if reared apart

33. GENES AND PERSONALITY GENE-ENVIRONMENT INTERACTIONS Shared and Nonshared Environments Nonshared environments appear more important to personality development than shared experiences resulting from being reared in the same family ? 40% of variation in personality due to genetic factors ? 35 % of variation due to nonshared environments ? 5% of variation due to shared environments ? 20% of variation due to measurement error

34. GENES AND PERSONALITY GENE-ENVIRONMENT INTERACTIONS Nonshared Environmental Effects Research has focused on the processes linking genetic and family influences on personality development Researchers can separate the effects of parenting common across siblings from the effects of parenting unique to each sibling Parenting unique to each child appears tied to behaviors evoked by the genetic characteristics of the child Children with different genetic constitutions evoke different responses from their parents; they also create different family environments One parenting style may be experienced differently by genetically different siblings

35. NEUROSCIENCE AND PERSONALITY HEMISPHERIC (LATERAL) DOMINANCE People differ in the degree to which their emotions tend to be positive or negative Davidson (1994, 1995, 1998) studied left and right hemispheric involvement in positive versus negative emotion Activation of the left prefrontal region of the brain was predicted to correlate with positive, approach-related emotions Activation of the right prefrontal region of the brain was predicted to correlate with negative, avoidance-related emotions

36. NEUROSCIENCE AND PERSONALITY HEMISPHERIC (LATERAL) DOMINANCE In Davidson?s research, EEG recordings detected electrical activity of the brain Measures of hemispheric activity were taken before (baseline) and during film clips designed to evoke positive or negative emotion Participants rated their mood before and during each film clip

37. NEUROSCIENCE AND PERSONALITY HEMISPHERIC (LATERAL) DOMINANCE Individual differences in prefrontal lateral asymmetry were associated with baseline mood Left hemispheric dominance with positive mood Right hemispheric dominance with negative mood The same prefrontal lateral differences were associated with film clips evoking either positive or negative affect after baseline differences in mood were statistically removed L = more mood+ to clips+; R = more mood- to clips-

38. NEUROSCIENCE AND PERSONALITY HEMISPHERIC (LATERAL)DOMINANCE Depressed and formerly depressed individuals have diminished left prefrontal cortical activity compared to non-depressed individuals Individuals with damage to the left prefrontal area are more likely to become depressed, whereas those with damage to the right prefrontal area are more likely to become manic

39. NEUROSCIENCE AND PERSONALITY NEUROTRANSMITTERS = chemicals that transmit information between neurons Dopamine is central to the operation of the reward system Serotonin is involved in mood regulation Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) reduce depression by leaving more serotonin to stimulate receptor neurons Because neurotransmitters contribute to mood, it is believed that brain chemistry may underlie individual differences in temperament

40. NEUROSCIENCE AND PERSONALITY NEUROTRANSMITTERS AND TEMPERAMENT Three Dimensions of Temperament Clark & Watson's (1999) model ? temperament differences can be summarized by 3 independent superfactors, similar to those suggested by Eysenck and to three of the BIG 5 domains: NE (Negative Emotionality) PE (Positive Emotionality) DvC (Disinhibition vs. Constraint)

41. NEUROSCIENCE AND PERSONALITY NEUROTRANSMITTERS AND TEMPERAMENT Three Dimensions of Temperament High on NE = prone to negative emotions, the environment elicits distress and threat Low on NE = emotionally stable, self-satisfied High on PE = cheerful, energetic, outgoing, willing to engage the environment Low on PE = reserved, low in energy and confidence D = impulsive and aggressive, oriented toward momentary feelings and sensations C = avoidant of risk or danger

42. NEUROSCIENCE AND PERSONALITY NEUROTRANSMITTERS AND TEMPERAMENT Three Dimensions of Temperament NE may be related to Low levels of serotonin (anxiety, depression, OCD symptoms), right hemispheric dominance (withdrawal), and hypersensitivity of the amygdala PE may be related to High levels of dopamine (positive emotion, incentive motivation) and left hemispheric dominance DvC may be related to Low levels of serotonin and high levels of testosterone

43. PLASTICITY: BIOLOGY AS EFFECT SES AND SEROTONIN Manuck et al. (2005) found that differences in serotonin level were due to differences in SES In impoverished neighborhoods, people tend to experience more daily stress and poorer nutrition Stress and nutrition can affect the body, including serotonergic activity Large sample of adults ingested a serotonin agonist Blood samples were tested for prolactin, a hormone released by serontonin

44. PLASTICITY: BIOLOGY AS EFFECT SES AND SEROTONIN Manuck et al. found that residents of poorer communities displayed lower serotonergic responsiveness Differences between communities were not explained by five-factor traits or intelligence Manuck et al. concluded that, ?socio-economic inequalities among communities can, if perhaps modestly, affect even the neurobiology of their residents? (p. 526)


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