Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Author Item Summary Meta data
Corr I 97
Extraversion/Eysenck/Deary: Eysenck’s (1957)(1) general ideas about Extraversion’s basis in individual differences in cortical arousability were already stated ten years before, and had an acknowledged basis in McDougall’s (1929)(2) ideas that were contemporaneous with Allport’s own earliest writings(3)(4). McDougall and Eysenck mght not have been right (there is hardly a single replicable discovery discovery concerning the biological basis of personality that has arisen from these pioneering ideas), but their scientific instincts were correct: that traits were unsatisfying fare unless one attacked the problem from both the outside and the inside at the same time.


1. Eysenck, H. J. 1957. The dynamics of anxiety and hysteria. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul
2. McDougall, W. 1929. The chemical theory of temperament applied to Introversion and Extroversion, Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 24: 293–309
3. Allport, G. W. 1927. Concepts of trait and personality, Psychological Bulletin 24: 284–93
4. Allport, G. W. 1931. What is a trait of personality?, Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 25: 368–72


Ian J. Deary, “The trait approach to personality”, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009. The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press

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Corr I 353
Extraversion/Eysenck: Eysenck’s (1967)(1) personality theory states that individuals differ with respect to the sensitivity of their ARAS (Ascending Reticular Activating System), which serves to dampen or amplify incoming sensory stimulation. Those of us with an active ARAS easily generate cortical arousal, whereas those of us with a less active ARAS generate cortical arousal much more slowly.
Those of us with an underactive ARAS are, generally, less cortically aroused and are not close to this optimal point of arousal; therefore, we seek out more stimulation, and we benefit from stimulation that we encounter: we are extraverts. Most people are in the middle range of these extreme values (i.e., ambiverts). >Conditioning/Eysenck, >Conditioning/Gray.


1. Eysenck, H. J. 1957. The dynamics of anxiety and hysteria. New York: Preger


Philip J. Corr, „ The Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of Personality“, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009. The Cambridge handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Eysenck, Hans Jürgen
Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009


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