Psychology Study Material: Eysenck՚s Dimensions of Personality

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Eysenck՚s Dimensions of Personality

According to Eysenck, personality can be understood and described in terms of just two major dimensions:

  • Introversion-extroversion,
  • Neuroticism-stability.

On the first dimension, people can be rated ranging from introverts to extroverts: the rest of the traits fall in between.

The second dimension is independent of the first one, and ranges from being neurotic to being stable.


  • Introvert; Quiet, passive, and careful people.
  • Extroverts; Outgoing, sociable, and active people.


  • Neurotics; Moody, touchy, and anxious people. Stable, Calm, carefree, and even-tempered people
  • Eysenck evaluated a number of people along these dimensions. Using the information thus obtained, he could accurately predict people՚s behaviour in a variety of situations.
  • The Recent Approach to Understanding Personality Traits The “Big Five”

Five broad trait factors lie at the core of personality:

  • Surgency: Extroversion and sociability
  • Neuroticism: Emotional stability
  • Intellect
  • Agreeableness
  • Conscientiousness

Learning Approaches to Personality

Approaches that focus upon the “observable” person rather than the inner dives, instincts, motives, thoughts, or traits.

For the learning theorists:

  • Personality is the aggregate of a person՚s learned responses to the external environment.
  • Variables considered most important by the learning theorist are the features of a person՚s environment.

Learning approaches are primarily based upon the principles of:

  • Classical Conditioning
  • Operant Conditioning
  • Cognitive Learning

B. F. Skinner՚s Approach

  • Personality is a collection of learned behavioural patterns.
  • Patterns of reinforcement that have been received in various situations in the past cause similarities in responses across different situations, when same or similar situations are encountered.
  • For example, a student tries to make a good presentation every time he has to present because he has been receiving positive reinforcement for good presentations in the past … not because of an inborn drive or a trait of being a hard working or industrious person. Similarly, a person who is never aggressive may be so because he was always punished for aggressiveness and rewarded for being polite.

For learning theorists

  • Consistencies in behaviour across different situations are not as important as the strategies for modifying behaviour are.
  • Learning theorists are more optimistic in their approach, as compared to the psychodynamic theorists; they believe in the potential for change, and do not believe in the passivity of psychic determinism.

Social Cognitive Approach to Personality

The approaches that lay emphasis upon the role of people՚s cognitions in determining their personalities.

Social Cognitive Approach to Personality
  • Cognitions include: people՚s thoughts, feelings, expectations, and values.
  • These approaches consider the “inner” variables to be important in determining one՚s personality.
  • These approaches emphasize the reciprocity between individuals and their environment.
  • There exists a web of reciprocity, consisting of the interaction of environment and people՚s behaviour. Our environment affects our behaviour, and our behaviour in turn influences our environment and causes modifications in the environment. The modified environment in turn, affects our behaviour.