|Corr I 416
Arousal/Neurobiology: The traditional paradigm for biological explanations of personality effects on performance is Eysenck’s (1967) arousal theory.
According to the Yerkes-Dodson Law, cortical arousal is linked to processing efficiency and performance by an inverted-U function. Moderate levels of arousal are optimal for performance; extremes of both low arousal (e.g., fatigue) and high arousal (e.g., anxiety) are damaging. The theory specifies that a cortico-reticular circuit controlling alertness and arousal is more easily activated in introverts than in extraverts. Hence, introverts are prone to performance deficits due to over-arousal, whereas extraverts are vulnerable to under-arousal. The prediction has been confirmed in a number of studies e.g., Revell, Amaral and Turriff 1976)(2).
VsArousal Theory/VsEysenck: the Yerkes-Dodson Law fails to provide a satisfactory explanation for Extraversion-Introversion effects. Psychophysiological findings suggest that Extraversion is only weakly linked to indices of arousal (Matthews and Amelang 1993; Matthews and Gilliland 1999). >Psychological Stress/Neurobiology (VsYerkes-Dodson).
VsArousal Theory: Other biologically-based theories may do a better job of explanation. For example, Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory (RST) (Philip J. Corr 2004(5), >Reinforcement sensitivity/Corr) links the impulsivity and anxiety traits to the sensitivity of brain systems for reward and punishment.
1. Eysenck, H. J. 1967. The biological basis of personality. Springfield, IL: Thomas
2. Revelle, W., Amaral, P. and Turriff, S. 1976. Introversion/Extraversion, time stress, and caffeine: effect on verbal performance, Science 192: 149–50
3. Matthews, G. and Amelang, M. 1993. Extraversion, arousal theory and performance: a study of individual differences in the EEG, Personality and Individual Differences 14: 347–64
4. Matthews, G. and Gilliland, K. 1999. The personality theories of H. J. Eysenck and J. A. Gray: a comparative review, Personality and Individual Differences 26: 583–626
5. Corr, P. J. 2004. Reinforcement sensitivity theory and personality, Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 28: 317–32
Gerald Matthews, „ Personality and performance: cognitive processes and models“, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009. The Cambridge handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press_____________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.
Philip J. Corr
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009