Dimensions of Personality

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We have seen that Eysenck and Cattell arrived at a different number of personality dimensions because they worked at different levels of factoring. Cattells 35 traits are all third level of the hierarchical structure, whereas Eysenck s superfactors are at the fourth level.

How many general superfactors exist? Many current factor theorists hisist that ample evidence exists that five—and no more and no fewer—general factors will emerge from nearly all factor analyses of personality traits. Eysenck, however, extracted only tlnee general superfactors. His tlnee personality dimensions are: extra-version (E), neuroticism (N), and psychoticism (P), although he did not rule out "the possibility that further dimensions may be added later" (Eysenck, 1994c, p. 151). Figure 14.4 shows the hierarchical structure of Eysenck's P, E, and N.

How Many Dimensions Exist

FIGURE 14.4 The hierarchical structure of P (psychoticism), E (extraversion-introversion), and N (neuroticism)

Source: From Biological dimensions of personality by H. J. Eysenck (1990). In L. A. Pervin (Ed.). Handbook of Personalityv Theory and Research (pp. 224—276). New York: Guilford Press. Reprinted by permission of Guilford

FIGURE 14.4 The hierarchical structure of P (psychoticism), E (extraversion-introversion), and N (neuroticism)

Source: From Biological dimensions of personality by H. J. Eysenck (1990). In L. A. Pervin (Ed.). Handbook of Personalityv Theory and Research (pp. 224—276). New York: Guilford Press. Reprinted by permission of Guilford

Neuroticism and psychoticism are not limited to pathological individuals, although disturbed people tend to score higher than normal people on scales measuring these two factors. Eysenck regarded all three factors as part of normal personality structure. All three are bipolar, with extraversión being at one end of Factor E and introversion occupying the opposite pole. Similarly, Factor N includes neuroticism at one pole and stability at the other, and Factor P has psychoticism at one pole and the superego function at the other.

The bipolarity of Eysenck s factors does not imply that most people are at one end or the other of the three main poles. Each factor is unimodally, rather than bi-modally, distributed. Extraversión, for example, is fairly normally distributed hi much the same fashion as intelligence or height. That is, most people are near the center of a bell-shaped distribution of extraversión. Eysenck contended that each of these factors meets his four criteria for identifying personality dimensions.

First, strong psychometric evidence exists for each, especially Factors E and N. The P factor (psychoticism) emerged later in Eysenck s work but was not taken seriously by other researchers until the mid-1990s (Eysenck, 1997b). Extraversión and neuroticism (or anxiety) are basic factors in nearly all factor analytic studies of human personality, including various versions of the Five-Factor Theory (Costa & McCrae, 1999, 2002; John & Srivastava, 1999).

Second Eysenck (1994b, 1994c) argued that a strong biological base exists for each of his three superfactors. At the same thne, he claimed that traits such as agree-ableness and conscientiousness, which are part of the five-factor taxonomy (John, 1990; W. T. Norman, 1963; Tupes & Christal, 1961), do not have an underlying biological foundation.

Third Eysenck s three personality dimensions make sense theoretically. Carl Jung (see Chapter 4) and others have recognized the powerful effect on behavior of extraversión and introversion (Factor E), and Sigmund Freud (see Chapter 2) emphasized the importance of anxiety (Factor N) on shaping behavior. In addition, psychoticism (Factor P) agrees with theorists, such as Abraham Maslow (see Chapter 10), who propose that psychological health ranges from self-actualization (a low P score) to schizophrenia and psychosis (a high P score).

Fourth, Eysenck repeatedly demonstrated that his three factors relate to such social issues as drug use (Eysenck, 1983), sexual behaviors (Eysenck, 1976), criminality (Eysenck, 1964, 1998b; Eysenck & Gudjonsson, 1989), preventing cancer and heart disease (Eysenck, 1991c, 1991d Grossarth-Maticek, Eysenck, & Vetter, 1988), and creativity (Eysenck, 1993).

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  • marjo
    How many dimensions are exist?
    10 months ago

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