Eysenck's Biological Theory of Personality | Free Essay Example

Eysenck’s Biological Theory of Personality

Words: 1503
Topic: Psychology


Biology is regarded to play a certain role in the development of specific characteristics related to personality. Similar genes inherited by children from their parents influence their behavior. Although this approach might be argued by some psychologists, the impact of biological differences in personality is obvious. The purpose of this paper is to provide the answers to the questions related to the biological approach and Eysenck’s theory of personality.

Child’s Academic Performance

General behavioral differences, known as temperaments, are defined as common patterns of mood and behavior, resulting in specific personality traits. Temperament contains such elements as activity, emotionality, and sociability. Therefore, it affects a child’s academic performance because the behavior of children varies depending on their characteristics. Some of them are too active and cannot sit still and listen to the teacher attentively, which might influence their study results. Some children are too shy and slow in understanding the assignments, and it is difficult for them to adapt to the new environment. It is emphasized that “academic success is shaped by the child’s ability to adapt to the school setting, the demands and expectations of her teachers and peers, as well as the challenges inherent in mastering new skills” (Gartstein, Putnam, & Kliewer, 2016, p. 299). Thus, temperament features influence the level of pre-school skills and readiness to accept school rules and demands, as well as classroom performance and achievements. Contemporary teachers try to take into account differences in temperament to increase the students’ chances to achieve academic success.

Inhibited and Uninhibited Children

It is possible to distinguish inhibited and uninhibited children according to their behavior style. Inhibited children are usually gentle and easy to control. They tend to stay close to their parents when going outside. Meeting new people makes them shy, and they are trying to hide in their parents’ arms or turn away. They are slow in exploring new playgrounds and toys. Uninhibited children are opposite to the inhibited ones. They are very sociable, talkative, and quickly make new friends in the playroom. They like noisy games and easily explore new grounds. It is possible to say that the author of this paper was an inhibited child because one preferred quiet games and was shy when meeting new people.

It is a general opinion that the inhibited and uninhibited styles of behavior are biologically inherited. It is stated that “neuroimaging studies find inhibited and uninhibited children’s brains react differently to events and images” (Burger, 2015, p. 233). Thus, each type has specific features that can be traced from the moment of birth. Inhibited children are more likely to become inhibited adults as they have some specific characteristics determined biologically, which influences their behavior and attitude to the environment. Still, some inhibited individuals tend to change their nature to achieve success.

Biological Approach to Personality

The biological approach to personality can be described as relating individual differences in people’s personalities to biological inheritance, such as common genes. According to this theory, a personality is divided into such primary dimensions as psychoticism, extraversion-introversion, and neuroticism. There are several arguments to support this theory, such as consistency of introversion and extraversion characteristics in individuals over the course of their lives, similarities of personality characteristics found in different cultures, and proved the influence of genetic makeup on personality based on the relevant studies. The strengths of this approach are that it links the study of personality and biology and that many scientists who support it are interested in conducting further research to test their ideas. Still, this approach is reported to have some weaknesses as well. The advocates of this approach are limited in the abilities to test their ideas. The absence of an agreed basic temperament model to evaluate biological patterns is also a concern as there are too many models at present (Burger, 2015). It also tends to provide a few suggestions about behavioral change.

Adoption Studies

The research of biological inheritance of personality characteristics is widely presented in adoption studies. These studies deal with investigating similar features in the personalities of separated twins who were adopted by different families. It is a general opinion that monozygotic twins share identical genes resulting in almost identical habits and behavior if raised in one environment. Adoption studies assist in evaluating the impact of genes on personality. Some researchers state that “adoption studies leverage the genetic or environmental similarity between biological or adoptive relatives with the major methodological concern being assortative placement – whether adoptees are placed randomly within adoptive homes” (Verhulst, Neale, & Kendler, 2015, p. 1061). Adoptive studies assist in estimating heritability of various psychological disorders such as alcohol and drug addiction. As a result of these studies, the researchers found that a different environment does not influence the identity of personality characteristics shared by monozygotic twins. It is also possible to say that heritability of alcohol use disorder is rather high in this group, although a healthy environment and different sexes impact the possibility of disorder development.

Twin Studies and the Nature Versus Nurture Debate

The heritability of personality traits is often difficult to identify. Twin studies are regarded as the most popular method to separate the roles of genetics and the environment. There are two types of twins that can be referred to as monozygotic and dizygotic. Dizygotic twins are not identical and might have different sexes as they come from two different eggs. Identical twins usually share the same genetic combinations, which makes them interesting for research. It is noted that “researchers using the twin-study method give personality trait measures to both members of both kinds of twins” (Burger, 2015, p. 256). The results of these studies emphasize larger genetic influence on personality traits compared to environmental influence because monozygotic twins who share genes tend to have more common traits than dizygotic twins.

What plays a bigger role in personality, nature or nurture? The recent twin studies proved that nature has a relatively strong influence on personality. It is generally recognized that such traits as introversion and extraversion, as well as some neurotic and psychotic features, might be inherited. Nevertheless, one cannot underestimate the role of nurture. The environment has a great influence on individuals and often determine their behavior. Therefore, the impact of nature and nurture on personality might be regarded as equal. The new information obtained after closer studying of the topic this week helped the author to understand the subject of the debate better and change one’s opinion on the impact that nature and nurture has on personality due to the detailed explanations on the origin of biological approach. Genetic inheritance might influence main traits that determine the personality of an individual and one’s behavior in the environment. Still, it would be unwise to state that environment does not influence a personality as it might cause changing of some traits to adopt to the reality.

The Psychology of Love

The evolutionary personality theory determines romantic relationship as a tool used by males and females to reproduce. It means that people choose a partner on the basis of the potential parental investment. Thus, females prefer older males who can provide financial support and protect the family. Correspondingly, males who have more abilities in reproducing with various females choose those who are physically attractive and might be healthy enough to give a birth to many children. This theory is accurate in its definitions of basic features that are found attractive by the opposite sex at the material level. Still, there are many other criteria that are crucial in the process of choosing a partner such as emotional and sexual compatibility, as well as spiritual and personal beliefs.

What type of personality is better to select as a partner despite some basic characteristics? Eysenck’s theory of personality argued that differences in personality are mainly caused by inherited biological traits. He divided personality into such dimensions as psychoticism, neuroticism, and extraversion-introversion, which is the most widely studied aspect of the theory. This variable is most likely to be inherited. It is noted that “according to a particular aspect of Eysenck’s theory of personality, extraversion can be described and explained by the underlying cortical arousal” (Küssner, 2017, p. 1991). Thus, they are believed to need more external stimulation to reach the desired level of cognitive activity. Extraverts prefer reading in public and listening to the background music when performing some tasks as it stimulates them while introverts prefer silence and loneliness. It is possible to say that one should choose a partner who is the same type because if an introvert marries or dates an extravert one might be irritated by the habits and behavior of the partner.

The paper dealt with the answers to the questions related to the biological approach and Eysenck’s theory of personality. The adoption and twin studies were discussed, and the explanations of evolutionary personality theory and Eysenck’s theory of personality were provided. The impact of temperament on the academic performance of a child, as well as two different types of children personality, were evaluated.


Burger, J. M. (2015). Personality (9th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

Gartstein, M. A., Putnam, S. P., & Kliewer, R. (2016). Do infant temperament characteristics predict core academic abilities in preschool-aged children? Learning and Individual Differences, 45(1), 299-306.

Küssner, M. B. (2017). Eysenck’s theory of personality and the role of background music in cognitive task performance: A mini-review of conflicting findings and a new perspective. Frontiers in Psychology, 8(1), 1991. Web.

Verhulst, B., Neale, M. C., & Kendler, K. S. (2015). The heritability of alcohol use disorders: A meta-analysis of twin and adoption studies. Psychological Medicine, 45(5), 1061-1072.