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Hans J Eysenck's approach to personality

H. J. Eysenck approaches to personality this century method is factor analysis. In his origin model (EPI) Eysenck measured two dimensions of personality Introversion-extraversion and neuroticism (stability - instability). according to Eysenck this theory fits in very well with the theory of temperaments we looked at earlier.Why these three dimensions? Remember that factor analysis gives us many solutions to a factor matrix. Eysenck argues for the psychological reality of his dimensions by linking them to physiological mechanisms and by making predictions which can be tested experimentally. Later he incorporated a scale to measure psychoticism.


MAUDSLEY MEDICAL QUESTIONNAIRE MMQ (1959) Neuroticism Clinical sample
MAUDSLEY PERSONALITY INVENTORY MPI (1959) Neuroticism and extraversion Added extraversion scale taken form Guilford
EYSENCK PERSONALITY INVENTORY EPI (1964) Extraversion Neuroticism Lie-scale Factor analysis used to purify scale
EYSENCK PERSONALITY QUESTIONNAIRE EPQ (1975) Extraversion Neuroticism Psychoticism Lie-scale Addition of psychoticism dimension




  • sociable
  • lively
  • active
  • assertive
  • sensation-seeking
  • carefree
  • dominant
  • surgent
  • venturesome
Central Nervous System
Arousal of the Reticular Activating System
Alcohol Ritalin Wilson (1990)
Introverts show higher levels of arousal than extroverts
Extroverts show increased arousal in the evening as they engage in stimulating activities.
  • anxious
  • depressed
  • guilt feelings
  • low self-esteem
  • tense
  • irrational
  • shy
  • moody
  • emotional
AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM Lability of the ANS (System concerned with digestion, breathing etc
The autonomic system of the neurotic is highly unstable and reactive.
Anti-anxiolytic drugs bio-feedback
  • aggressive
  • cold
  • egocentric
  • impersonal
  • impulsive
  • antisocial
  • unempathic
  • creative
  • tough minded
Hormone levels    
Extraversion has been related to the arousability of the nervous system Neuroticism to the liability of the autonomic nervous system Psychoticism related to androgen level Extravert is low on arousal - stimulus hunger - low threshold for boredom Introvert is highly aroused - any stimulation is over stimulation Neurotic - rapid mood swings, sweating, pallor, breathlessness, contractions of stomach, dryness of the mouth - related to the ANS Women have lower levels of androgens and score lower on P. Some controversial evidence that androgen level is related to violence.
  • introverts do better in school than extroverts particularly in advance subjects
  • extroverts prefer jobs with other people introverts prefer solitary jobs
  • differences in humour - extroverts prefer sexually explicit and aggressive jokes whereas introverts prefer wit and puns
  • extroverts a have more sexual partners
  • extroverts are more suggestible.


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