Dictionary of Arguments


Philosophical and Scientific Issues in Dispute
 
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Entry
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Anxiety Eysenck Corr II 119
Fear/Anxiety/study/reward/punishment/Arousability/Gray/Eysenck/GrayVsEysenck/McNaughton/Corr: Gray’s intellectual starting point is the biological component of Hans Eysenck’s theory of introversion–extraversion and neuroticism–stability.
II 120
Eysenck saw introverts and extraverts as differing primarily in general conditionability (whether with reward or punishment as the reinforcer) resulting from arousability (…). In contrast, Gray suggested that they differ, instead, in specific conditionability (…), related to sensitivity to punishment (sometimes he said fear) but not reward. (…) for both theories, the most important consequence of introversion for psychiatry is high conditioning of fear. Both theories presumed that these introversion-/extraversion-based differences in socialization would lead to psychiatric disorder when combined with high levels of neuroticism, which acts like an amplification factor. [However,] the two theories differ in their predictions about conditioning via reward. Gray’s key modification (…) is to attribute variations in fear conditioning to differing sensitivities to punishment, whereas Eysenck attributes it to variations in general arousability (in the ascending reticular activating system, ARAS) and so, as a consequence, conditionability in general. Gray located punishment sensitivity (in the sense of susceptibility to fear; see Gray, 1970a, p. 255(1)) in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the septo-hippocampal system (SHS) (…). He connected PFC, SHS and ARAS in a feedback loop, controlled by ‘theta’ rhythm, and impaired by extraverting (anti-anxiety) drugs such as amylobarbitone. High arousal could generate punishment (with effects similar to those proposed by Eysenck). Conversely, high punishment sensitivity would generate high arousal in punishing situations (…) due to interaction of PFC + SHS with ARAS.
II 123
Susceptibility to fear (although not always due to conditioning (…)) fitted well with a number of facts (p. 255)(1). We can easily see internalizing disorders (‘dysthymias’, e.g., phobia, anxiety and obsession) as excessive fear of one form or another. (…) trait-anxious people (neurotic introverts) condition better only if there is threat. At the other end of the scale, we can view externalizing disorders (e.g., psychopathy) as insufficient sensitivity to punishment.
II 126
Reward/Punishment/Arousability/Sensitivity/Gray/McNaughton/Corr: According to Gray, arousability is a general concept that should apply to both reward and punishment. To explain activity in a ‘system whose chief function appears to be that of inhibiting maladaptive behaviour’ (p. 260)(1), general arousability needs explanation. For Gray, if we invert the causal order, it seems perfectly reasonable that higher susceptibility to the threats that abound in everyday life would lead to higher levels of arousal effects. For Gray, arousal, however it is produced, serves to invigorate behaviour (…), unless it is so intense it becomes punishing. This can give rise to paradoxical effects: for example, mild punishment will induce arousal and may invigorate reward-mediated reactions – so long as the punishment-inducing effects are smaller than the reward-inducing effects.
II 127
Neuroticism/Anxiety: Taking an explicitly two-process learning approach, Gray first recasts the combination of neuroticism with introversion. If reward and punishment sensitivities are distinct, and we employ only two factors for our explanations, then high neuroticism/emotionality as normally measured must represent a combination of high reward and high punishment sensitivity. Gray’s initial equation of introversion with punishment sensitivity means that the neurotic introvert will be particularly sensitive to punishment.
II 129
VsGray: The paper’s complexity may seem a trivial issue [but] even half a century later, readers (…) struggle with it. The biggest problem is that the theory spans multiple disciplines – with each integral to the whole. Gray’s detailed exposition also has some specific problems that we discuss here. At the theoretical level, his use of the terms ‘punishment’ and ‘fear’ were ambiguous: blurring key points when he shifted between one and the other conceptually. At the measurement level, while proposing a rotation of Eysenck’s axes, he did not tell us how to assess his proposed reward and punishment sensitivities (…). [Moreover] his paper focused on ‘reward’ and ‘punishment’ in the context of conditioning. He, therefore, did not discuss the third case of escape/withdrawal in any detail. However, it is via fight/flight that he included obsessive–compulsive disorder, with its compulsive rituals and obsessive rumination, within the dysthymic disorders. >Terminology/Gray, >Fear/Eysenck.


1. Gray, J. A. (1970a). The psychophysiological basis of introversion–extraversion. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 8, 249–266.


McNaughton, Neil and Corr, John Philip: “Sensitivity to Punishment and Reward Revisiting Gray (1970)”, In: Philip J. Corr (Ed.) 2018. Personality and Individual Differences. Revisiting the classical studies. Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne: Sage, pp. 115-136.


Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018
Arousal Eysenck Corr I 400
Arousal/Performance/Eysenck/Matthews: Early experimental studies (e.g., Eysenck 1957(1), 1967(2)) showed that basic traits such as >Extraversion (E) and >Neuroticism (N) relate to performance on a variety of standard laboratory tasks requiring cognitive functions such as perception, attention, memory and speeded response. Eysenck (1967)(2) attempted to explain these findings in terms of traditional arousal theory. MatthewsVsEysenck/MatthewsVsArousal theory: However, failings of arousal theory (Matthews and Gilliland 1999)(3) imply that we must look more closely at the different information-processing components that may be sensitive to personality. See >Performance/Cognitive Psychology.
Eysenck: (Eysenck 1957(1), 1967(2)) hypothesized that variations in basic attributes of the brain such as inhibition and arousal should influence performance of simple tasks such as choice reaction time and paired-associate learning. The E and N traits predicted performance on tasks requiring attention, memory and rapid execution of motor response. In effect, performance measures functioned as another psychophysiological index akin to EEG or EDA.


1. Eysenck, H. J. 1957. The dynamics of anxiety and hysteria. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul 2. Eysenck, H. J. 1967. The biological basis of personality. Springfield, IL: Thomas
2. Eysenck, H. J. 1967. The biological basis of personality. Springfield, IL: Thomas
3. 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


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


Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018
Arousal Neurobiology 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


Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018
Behavior Eysenck Corr I 349
Behavior/Eysenck: Gray faced two major problems: first, how to identify brain systems responsible for behaviour; and, secondly, how to characterize these systems once identified. The individual differences perspective is one major way of identifying major sources of variation in behaviour; by inference, there must be causal systems (i.e., sources) giving rise to observed variations in behaviour. Hans Eysenck’s (1947(1), 1957(2), 1967(3) approach was to use multivariate statistical analysis to identify these major sources of variation in the form of personality dimensions. GrayVsEysenck: >Behavior/Gray, >Conditioning/Eysenck, >Conditioning/Gray.



1. Eysenck, H. J. 1947. Dimensions of personality. London: K. Paul/Trench Trubner
2. Eysenck, H. J. 1957. The dynamics of anxiety and hysteria. New York: Preger
3. Eysenck, H. J. 1967. The biological basis of personality. Springfield, IL: Thomas



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


Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018
Behavior Gray Corr I 349
Behavior/Gray: Gray used the language of cybernetics (cf. Wiener 1948)(1) – the science of communication and control, comprising end-goals and feedback processes containing control of values within the system that guide the organism towards its final goal – in the form of a cns-CNS (conceptual nervous system/Central Nervous System >Terminology/Gray) bridge, to show how the flow of information and control of outputs is achieved (see also, Gray 2004)(2). >Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory/Gray, >Conceptual Nervous System/Gray. Gray faced two major problems: first, how to identify brain systems responsible for behaviour; and, secondly, how to characterize these systems once identified. The individual differences perspective is one major way of identifying major sources of variation in behaviour; by inference, there must be causal systems (i.e., sources) giving rise to observed variations in behaviour. Hans Eysenck’s (1947(3), 1957(4), 1967(5)) approach was to use multivariate statistical analysis to identify these major sources of variation in the form of personality dimensions.
GrayVsEysenck: Gray accepted that this ‘top-down’ approach can identify the minimum number of sources of variation (i.e., the ‚extraction ‘extraction problem’ in factor analysis), but he argued that such statistical approaches can never resolve the correct orientation of these observed dimensions (i.e., the ‘rotation problem’ in factor analysis).
Solution/Gray: „bottom-up“ approach: rested on other forms of evidence, including the effects of brain lesions, experimental brain research (e.g., intracranial self-stimulation studies), and, of most importance, the effects on behaviour of classes of drugs known to be effective in the treatment of psychiatric disorders.
Transforming base pharmacological findings into a valuable neuropsychological theory. This was a subtle and clever way to expose the nature of fundamental emotion and motivation systems, especially those implicated in major forms of psychopathology. >Method/Gray, >Fear/Gray.



1. Wiener, N. 1948. Cybernetics, or control and communication in the animal and machine. Cambridge: MIT Press
2. Gray, J. A. 2004. Consciousness: creeping up on the Hard Problem. Oxford University Press
3. Eysenck, H. J. 1947. Dimensions of personality. London: K. Paul/Trench Trubner
4. Eysenck, H. J. 1957. The dynamics of anxiety and hysteria. New York: Preger
5. Eysenck, H. J. 1967. The biological basis of personality. Springfield, IL: Thomas


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


Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018
Behavior Corr Corr I 365
Behavior/Corr: [there is] a more fundamental aspect of the BIS (Behavioural Inhibition System; >Terminology/Corr), namely that it is sensitive to goal conflict (e.g., approach-avoidance; e.g., an animal will approach a threat only if there is some possibility of a rewarding outcome, such as food). However, threats (as opposed to primary punishment itself) are only one source of aversion. Revised RST (>Reinforcement Sensivity Theory/Corr) argues that, in principle, approach-approach and avoidance-avoidance conflicts also involve activation of the same system and have essentially the same effects as the classic approach-avoidance. The aversive element resides in the possibility of making a mistake, thus we typically spend time weighing up all the possibilities, and searching for potential downsides to each decision. >Anxiety/Corr.
Corr I 366
BAS/Behavioral Approach System: it may be assumed that the BAS is more complex than conventionally thought – and, indeed, may be more complex than either the FFFS or the BIS.6 I (Corr 2008a)(6) developed the concept of sub-goal scaffolding, which reflects the separate, though overlapping, stages of BAS behaviour,
Corr I 367
consisting in a series of appetitively-motivated sub-goals. Sub-goal scaffolding reflects the fact that, in order to move along the temporo-spatial gradient to the final primary biological reinforcer, it is necessary to engage a number of distinct processes. Complex approach behaviour entails a series of behavioural processes, some of which oppose each other. Such behaviour often demands restraint and planning, but, especially at the final point of capture of the biological reinforcer, impulsivity is more appropriate. (…)’Impulsivity’ may not be the most appropriate name for the personality dimension that reflects BAS processes (Franken and Muris 2006(1); Smillie, Jackson and Dalgleish 2006)(2). There is evidence that, at the psychometric level, the BAS is multidimensional. For example, the Carver and White (1994)(3) BIS/BAS scales measure three aspects of BAS: Reward Responsiveness, Drive and Fun-Seeking – these scales have good psychometric properties in both adolescents and adults (e.g., Caci, Deschaux and Baylé 2007(4); Cooper, Gomez and Aucute 2007(5)). >Drives/Corr, >Anxiety/fear/Corr.
I 368
Extraversion/CorrVsEysenck: in the revised RST (>Reinforcement SensivityTheory/Corr) we have to assume that Eysenck’s Extraversion factor reflects the balance of reward and punishment systems (a central assumption in RST) for a viable explanation as to why Extraversion and arousal are so often associated in experimental studies of personality.

1. Franken, I. H. A. and Muris, P. 2006. Gray’s impulsivity dimension: a distinction between Reward Sensitivity versus Rash Impulsiveness, Personality and Individual Differences 40: 1337–47
2. Smillie, L. D., Jackson, C. J. and Dalgleish, L. I. 2006. Conceptual distinctions among Carver and White’s (1994) BAS scales: a reward-reactivity versus trait impulsivity perspective, Personality and Individual Differences 40: 1039–50
3. Carver, C. S. and White, T. L. 1994. Behavioral inhibition, behavioral activation, and affective responses to impending reward and punishment: the BIS/BAS scales, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 67: 319–33
4. Caci, H., Deschaux, O. and Baylé, F. J. 2007. Psychometric properties of the French versions of the BIS/BAS and the SPSRQ, Personality and Individual Differences 42: 987–98
5. Cooper, A., Gomez, R. and Aucute, H. 2007. The Behavioural Inhibition System and Behavioural Approach System (BIS/BAS) scales: measurement and structural invariance across adults and adolescents, Personality and Individual Differences 43: 295–305
6. Corr, P. J. 2008a. Reinforcement sensitivity theory (RST): Introduction, in P. J. Corr (ed). The reinforcement sensitivity theory of personality, pp. 1–43. Cambridge University Press


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

Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018

Conditioning Eysenck Corr I 353
Conditioning/Eysenck: Eysenck (1957)(1) stated that introverted individuals (i.e., high arousal, or excitable process, type) are relatively easy to condition; whereas, extraverts (i.e., low arousal, or inhibitory process, type) are relatively less easy to condition. The observation that clinical neurotics are indeed introverts (they are also high on neurosis, which adds negative emotional fuel to the high-arousal fire) fitted the theory well, as did the clinical observation that behaviour therapy, which was based upon conditioning principles, was effective in the treatment of a number of neurotic conditions. >Extraversion/Eysenck, >Introversion/Eysenck.
Corr I 354
VsEysenck: (a) at high levels of stimulation, introverts were actually worse than extraverts at conditioning (Eysenck and Levey 1972)(2). Although this supported the Pavlovian notion of transmarginal inhibition (TMI) of response (i.e., a breakdown of the orderly stimuli-response relationship at too-high levels of stimulation), it simultaneously corroded the very foundations of the theory, for it led to the conclusion that extraverts should condition best to high arousing stimuli (including the panoply of aversive stimuli found in neurosis) and, therefore, should be overrepresented in the psychiatric clinic, which they are not for typical neurotic conditions. (b) Compounded with this first problem was the finding, again from Eysenck’s own work (Eysenck and Levey 1972)(2) but also from other researchers (Revelle 1997)(3), that it is impulsivity, not sociability, that carried the causal burden of the arousal-conditioning link. As impulsivity is orthogonal, and thus independent of sociability (the main trait of Eysenck’s Extraversion scale), this destroyed not only the arousal-conditioning-Extraversion link, but also the relevance of Extraversion at all in conditioning effects, including those supposedly so crucial in the development of neurotic conditions.
(c) The relations observed between arousal and conditioning were observed to vary as a function of time of day: Eysenck-like sociability/impulsivity x arousal effects that are found with morning testing (e.g., introverts showing superior performance under placebo and TMI-related performance deficits under arousal, relative to extraverts) are reversed with evening testing. As ruefully noted by Gray (1981), one is not a neurotic in the morning and a psychopath in the evening!
(d) See >Conditioning/Psychological Theories, >Conditioning/Gray (>GrayVsEysenck).


1. Eysenck, H. J. 1967. The biological basis of personality. Springfield, IL: Thomas
2. Eysenck, H. J. and Levey, A. 1972. Conditioning, Introversion–Extraversion and the strength of the nervous system, in V. D. Nebylitsyn and J. A. Gray (eds), The biological bases of individual behaviour, pp. 206–20. London: Academic Press
3. Revelle, W. 1997. Extraversion and impulsivity: the lost dimension, in H. Nyborg (ed.), The scientific study of human nature: tribute to Hans J. Eysenck at eighty, pp. 189–212. Oxford: Elsevier Science Press



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


Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018
Conditioning Gray Corr I 356
Conditioning/Gray/GrayVsEysenck: In brief, Gray (1970(1), 1972b(2), 1981(3)) proposed a modification of Eysenck’s 1957(4) theory thus: (a) to the position of Extraversion (E) and Neuroticism (N) in multivariate statistical factor space; and
(b) to their neuropsychological bases. According to Gray, E and N should be rotated, approximately, 30° to form the more causally efficient axes of ‘punishment sensitivity’, reflecting Anxiety (Anx), and ‘reward sensitivity’, reflecting Impulsivity (Imp).
Gray’s modification stated that highly impulsive individuals (Imp+) are most sensitive to signals of reward, relative to their low impulsive (Imp−) counterparts; highly anxious individuals (Anx+) are most sensitive to signals of punishment, relative to low anxiety (Anx−) counterparts. >Factor Analysis, >Rotated Factors.
Corr I 357
GrayVsEysenck: According to this new view, Eysenck’s E and N dimensions (Eysenck 1957)(4) are secondary (conflated) factors of these more fundamental traits/processes. This is now called the ‘separable subsystems hypothesis’ (Corr 2001(5), 2002a(6); see Corr and McNaughton 2008(7)). Solution/Gray: Gray’s (1970)(1) theory deftly side-stepped the problems accompanying Eysenck’s, and it also explained why introverts were, generally, more cortically aroused: they are more punishment sensitive (punishment is more arousing than reward); and, as extraverts are more sensitive to reward, not punishment, they are, accordingly, less aroused. Cf. >Conditioning/Eysenck, >Conditioning/Psychological Theories.


1. Gray, J. A. 1970. The psychophysiological basis of Introversion–Extraversion, Behaviour Research and Therapy 8: 249–66
2. Gray, J. A., 1972b. The psychophysiological nature of Introversion-Extraversion: a modification of Eysenck’s theory, in V. D. Nebylitsyn and J. A. Gray (eds.), The biological bases of individual behaviour, pp. 182–205. New York: Academic Press
3. Gray, J. A. 1981. A critique of Eysenck’s theory of personality, in H. J. Eysenck (ed.), A model for personality, pp. 246–76. Berlin: Springer
4. Eysenck, H. J. 1957. The dynamics of anxiety and hysteria. New York: Preger
5. Corr, P. J. 2001. Testing problems in J. A. Gray’s personality theory: a commentary on Matthews and Gilliland (1999), Personal Individual Differences 30: 333–52
6. Corr, P. J. 2002a. J. A. Gray’s reinforcement sensitivity theory: tests of the joint subsystem hypothesis of anxiety and impulsivity, Personality and Individual Differences 33: 511–32
7. Corr, P. J. and McNaughton, N. 2008. Reinforcement sensitivity theory and personality, in P. J. Corr (ed). The reinforcement sensitivity theory of personality, pp. 155–87. Cambridge University Press


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



Corr II 121
Conditioning/Eyeblink Conditionality/Gray/MacNaughton/Corr: Much of the debate on personality in the human conditioning literature revolved around a particular
II 122
type of conditioning, namely that of the eyeblink. Gray’s first data-oriented section focuses on eyeblink conditioning in both introverts and those high on ‘Manifest Anxiety’ (Taylor, 1956)(1), who he argues (…) are neurotic introverts. The eyeblink conditioning data, and arguments, are complicated (particularly where partial reinforcement schedules are used) but best fit the idea that introverts learn better than extraverts only under conditions where they are more highly aroused; with those high on trait anxiety (i.e., neurotic introverts) showing better conditioning when exposed to threat. Neurotic introverts usually condition eyeblinks faster and extinguish them slower than other people. If we can generalize from this to all learning (particularly social), we can then account for their introverted symptoms in the same way as Eysenck. >Conditioning/Eysenck.


1. Taylor, J. (1956). Drive theory and manifest anxiety. Psychological Bulletin, 53, 303–320.


McNaughton, Neil and Corr, John Philip: “Sensitivity to Punishment and Reward Revisiting Gray (1970)”, In: Philip J. Corr (Ed.) 2018. Personality and Individual Differences. Revisiting the classical studies. Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne: Sage, pp. 115-136.


Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018
Emotion System Gray Corr I 358
Emotion System/Gray: reduction of pathological emotions can be achieved in one of two ways: (a) deconditioning aversive reinforcing stimuli, which weakens the strength of stimulus inputs into the innate emotion systems; or
(b) by dampening down the activity in the systems themselves (e.g., by the use of drugs that target key molecules in parts of the innate system).
We may see the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) as another way to ‘decondition’ the power of hitherto aversive stimuli to activate the emotion systems (e.g., by restructuring ‘irrational’ cognitions that serve as inputs into these systems) Gray 1970)(1). >GrayVsEysenck, >Conditioning/Gray, >Emotion/Gray.



1. Gray, J. A. 1970. The psychophysiological basis of Introversion–Extraversion, Behaviour Research and Therapy 8: 249–66


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


Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018
Emotions Eysenck Corr I 355
Emotion/Eysenck/CorrVsEysenck: Emotion was never satisfactorily explained in Eysenck’s (1957)(1) theory: it was seen, at varying times, as a cause (e.g., in Spence’s conditioning studies), as an outcome (e.g., in neurosis), and as a regulatory set point mechanism (e.g., in arousal and hedonic tone relations). In Eysenck’s theory, it remained something of an unruly, even delinquent, construct. (Spence 1964)(2). >Conditioning/Gray.

1. Corr, P. J. 2008a. Reinforcement sensitivity theory (RST): Introduction, in P. J. Corr (ed). The reinforcement sensitivity theory of personality, pp. 1–43. Cambridge University Press
2. Spence, K. W. 1964. Anxiety (drive) level and performance in eyelid conditioning, Psychological Bulletin 61: 129–39


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


Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018
Emotions Gray Corr I 358
Emotion/Gray: Gray (1970(1)) advanced the claim that the ‘emotions’ are elicited by motivationally-significant (‘reinforcing’) stimuli (of any kind) that activate innate systems in the brain. Now seen as rather innocuous, this claim has important and widespread implications for personality psychology: if emotion, and its related motivation, were fundamental to personality (as suggested by Eysenck’s own work in linking personality to psychopathology) then we may better understand personality by understanding emotion systems in the brain. GrayVsEysenck: In critiquing Eysenck’s approach, Gray noted that classical conditioning does not, indeed cannot, create emotion, normal or pathological; all it can do is to transform initially neutral stimuli into conditioned (reinforcing) stimuli that, via Pavlovian classical conditioning, acquire the power to activate innate systems of emotion which, themselves, are responsible for generating emotion. >Conditioning/Gray, >Conditioning/Eysenck.



1. Gray, J. A. 1970. The psychophysiological basis of Introversion–Extraversion, Behaviour Research and Therapy 8: 249–66



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


Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018
Extraversion Corr I 368
Extraversion/CorrVsEysenck/Corr: in the revised RST (>Reinforcement SensivityTheory/Corr) we have to assume that Eysenck’s Extraversion factor reflects the balance of reward and punishment systems (a central assumption in RST) for a viable explanation as to why Extraversion and arousal are so often associated in experimental studies of personality. >Behavior/Corr, >Anxiety/Fear/Corr.


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

Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018

Fear Eysenck Corr I 355
Fear/emotion/Eysenck/CorrVsEysenck(1): where does fear come from? More technically, where is fear generated in the brain, and how is this fear-system related to conditioning? Eysenck seemed just to assume that emotion arose spontaneously; but this simply will not do. In addition, if there is a fear generating system, then maybe that is where we should look for the genesis of clinical neurosis. >Conditioning/Eysenck. Another clue to the potential importance of an innate fear system was the debate between Eysenck’s and Spence’s laboratories where, in the latter, it was found that conditioning was related to anxiety not (low) Extraversion. This debate was finally resolved by the realization that it is anxiety related to conditioning in laboratories that is more threatening (as in the case of Spence’s; Spence 1964)(2).
A greater problem: Emotion was never satisfactorily explained in Eysenck’s theory: it was seen, at varying times, as a cause (e.g., in Spence’s conditioning studies), as an outcome (e.g., in neurosis), and as a regulatory set point mechanism (e.g., in arousal and hedonic tone relations). In Eysenck’s theory, it remained something of an unruly, even delinquent, construct. >Conditioning/Eysenck, >Conditioning/Gray.


1. Corr, P. J. 2008a. Reinforcement sensitivity theory (RST): Introduction, in P. J. Corr (ed). The reinforcement sensitivity theory of personality, pp. 1–43. Cambridge University Press
2. Spence, K. W. 1964. Anxiety (drive) level and performance in eyelid conditioning, Psychological Bulletin 61: 129–39



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


Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018
Fear Gray Corr I 351
Fear/anxiety/Gray: anxiolytic drugs anatagonize or reduce the behavioural effects (i.e., suppression of behaviour) associated with conditioned stimuli for punishment (Pun-CSs) and frustative non-reward (nonRew-CSs; i.e., the non-delivery of expected reward), as well as, but less strongly, novel stimuli. Noteworthy, was the relative absence of effects on behaviour controlled by unconditioned punishing or rewarding stimuli (i.e., innate stimuli). As discussed below, this evidence suggested that anxiolytic drugs acted on a system that was responsible for behavioural inhibition in reaction to conditioned signals of punishment, non-reward (frustration) and novelty. (1)
Corr I 357
GrayVsEysenck: Gray (1970)(2) argued that drugs that reduce clinical anxiety lower N and raise E scores, as does psychosurgery to the frontal cortex (whether caused by accident or surgical design) – both sets of findings suggest that a single anxiety dimension is a better account than two, separate, dimensions.

1. Gray, J. A. 1977. Drug effects on fear and frustration: possible limbic site of action of minor tranquillizers, in L. L. Iversen, S. D. Iversen and S. H. Snyder (eds), Handbook of psychopharmacology, vol. VIII, Drugs, neurotransmitters, and behavior, pp. 433–529. New York: Plenum Press
2. Gray, J. A. 1970. The psychophysiological basis of Introversion–Extraversion, Behaivour Research and Therapy 8: 249–66


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


Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018
Introversion Eysenck Corr I 353
Introversion/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. According to this view, those of us with an overactive ARAS are, generally, more cortically aroused and closer to our optimal point of arousal; therefore, we do not seek out more stimulation, and we shy away from stimulation that we encounter: we are introverts. Most people are in the middle range of these extreme values (i.e., ambiverts).
>Personality traits/Eysenck, >Personality/Eysenck, >Extraversion/Eysenck, >VsEysenck.



1. Eysenck, H. J. 1967. The biological basis of personality. Springfield, IL: Thomas


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


Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018
Method Eysenck Corr I 352
Method/personality traits/Eysenck: Hans Eysenck’s (1967)(1) arousal/activation theory of Introversion-Extraversion (E) and Neuroticism (N). Eysenck’s ‘top-down’ approach consisted in first ‘discovering’ the major dimensions of personality, and, secondly, providing a theoretical (biological) account for their existence. GrayVsEysenck: (Corr and McNaughton 2008)(2): multivariate statistical analysis is unable to ‘recover’ the separate causal influences that get conflated in immediate/short-term behaviour responses, as well as in the longer-term development of personality: what is measured in behaviour is the net products of, possibly separate, causal influences and the operation of their underlying systems. >Personality traits/Gray.
Eysenck: What Eysenck seemed to have found were major descriptive dimensions of personality (principally, E and N), that reflect the causal influences of separate, and interacting, underlying systems, and which, as such, could only ever be tied to very general biological processes that cut across these underlying systems, specifically neuropsychological arousal and activation, of the ascending reticular activating system (ARAS) and visceral system, respectively (for a summary, see Corr 2004)(3). GrayVsEysenck: See Gray 1981(4).



1. Eysenck, H. J. 1967. The biological basis of personality. Springfield, IL: Thomas
2. Corr, P. J. and McNaughton, N. 2008. Reinforcement sensitivity theory and personality, in P. J. Corr (ed). The reinforcement sensitivity theory of personality, pp. 155–87. Cambridge University Press
3. Corr, P. J. 2004. Reinforcement sensitivity theory and personality, Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 28: 317–32
4. Gray, J. A. 1981. A critique of Eysenck’s theory of personality, in H. J. Eysenck (ed.), A model for personality, pp. 246–76. Berlin: Springer


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


Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018
Performance Eysenck Corr I 400
Performance/Eysenck/Matthews: Early experimental studies (e.g., Eysenck 1957(1), 1967(2)) showed that basic traits such as >Extraversion (E) and >Neuroticism (N) relate to performance on a variety of standard laboratory tasks requiring cognitive functions such as perception, attention, memory and speeded response. Eysenck (1967)(2) attempted to explain these findings in terms of traditional arousal theory. MatthewsVsEysenck: However, failings of arousal theory (Matthews and Gilliland 1999)(3) imply that we must look more closely at the different information-processing components that may be sensitive to personality. See >Performance/Cognitive Psychology.
Eysenck: (Eysenck 1957(1), 1967(2)) hypothesized that variations in basic attributes of the brain such as inhibition and arousal should influence performance of simple tasks such as choice reaction time and paired-associate learning. The E and N traits predicted performance on tasks requiring attention, memory and rapid execution of motor response. In effect, performance measures functioned as another psychophysiological index akin to EEG or EDA.


1. Eysenck, H. J. 1957. The dynamics of anxiety and hysteria. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul 2. Eysenck, H. J. 1967. The biological basis of personality. Springfield, IL: Thomas
3. 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


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


Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018
Personality Eysenck Corr I 353
Personality/Eysenck: Eysenck’s (1967)(1) Thesis: Eysenck’s 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. VsEysenck: he gave no theoretical rationale for his assumptions, that there exists an optimal level of arousal. >Conditioning/Eysenck, >Conditioning/Gray.



1. Eysenck, H. J. 1967. The biological basis of personality. Springfield, IL: Thomas



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


Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018
Temperament Eysenck Corr I 178
Temperament/personality/Eysenck/Rothbart: Early work yielded factors of Introversion-Extraversion, emotional stability-instability (later called Neuroticism by Eysenck) and volition or will (see review by Rothbart 1989)(1). (RothbartVsEysenck). Eysenck related individual differences in temperament to cortical excitation and inhibition and the functioning of the limbic system. Still later, Gray (1991)(2) revised Eysenck’s theory by positing individual differences in behavioural activation and inhibition, as well as tendencies to fight and flight. He also related these differences to an underlying neurophysiology. (GrayVsEysenck).


1. Rothbart, M. K. 1989. Biological processes of temperament, in G. Kohnstamm, J. Bates and M. K. Rothbart (eds.), Temperament in childhood, pp. 77–110. Chichester: Wiley
2. Gray, J. A. 1991. The neuropsychology of temperament, in J. Strelau and A. P. Angleitner (eds.), Explorations in temperament, pp. 105–28. New York: Plenum


Mary K. Rothbart, Brad E. Sheese and Elisabeth D. Conradt, “Childhood temperament” in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009. The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press


Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018