Hans Eysenck And His Biological Trait Theory Psychology Essay

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Hans Eysenck is a well-known psychologist and psychotherapist, one of his main tasks he believed was the selection of clinical psychology as an independent discipline. He established his department that was the first to begin training health psychologists using the recently developed methods of behavioral psychotherapy.

Basic research by Eysenck lied in the theory of personality, the study of intelligence, social attitudes, behavioral genetics and behavioral psychotherapy. He saw psychology from the standpoint of science and hostile to humanistic, psychodynamic, and other subjective approaches.  (Haggbloom 2002)

The actuality of work is determined by the fact that the person has a special qualities that individual acquires due to the system of social relationships. The basis of dispositional direction in the study of personality is based on two general ideas. The first idea is that people have a wide range of predispositions to react in a certain way in different situations (that are personality traits): this means that people show a certain consistency in their actions, thoughts and emotions, regardless of the time, events and life experiences. The second idea is related to the fact that there are no two people who are exactly alike, as the notion of identity is revealed in part by emphasizing the characteristics that distinguish individuals from each other. Indeed, each theoretical direction in personology remains viable in the psychological science, in one way or another should address the issue of differences between individuals. (Eysenck 1967 )

Despite the fact that until now scientists and psychologists have not yet ascertained the exact impact of genetics on behavior, a growing number of psychologists believe that, perhaps, in this matter Eysenck was right.

Personality psychology

Personality is a set of features, allowing to predict the actions of a person in certain situation, it involves both the external and internal behavior of the individual. The purpose of psychological studies of personality is the establishment of laws by which people behave in typical social situations. (Engler 2006)

The most popular factor theory of personality was developed by Hans Eysenck - his theory of personality is focused on empirical studies of individual differences in personality.

The study of personality and personal treats was basic in Eysenck thinking and research. He studied man as a biosocial organism whose actions are determined by biological (genetic, physiological, endocrine) and social (historical, economic) factors. He believed that a unilateral approach with emphasis on biological or social factors hinder the development of science.

Eysenck insisted that the man was a product of evolution, which still retained the features inherited from earlier life forms millions of years ago. This view has not always been popular among scientists studying the society, more inclined to emphasize the role of social factors, but Eysenck thought it only true for a proper understanding of man. (Eysenck 1967 )

Theory of Eysenck was built on the hierarchical type and includes a description of three-factor model of psychodynamic properties: extroversion - introversion, neuroticism and psychotism). These properties Eysenck relates to the types of general level of hierarchical organization of personality structure. At the next level there are the features, below this level is the level of habitual reactions, or the actual behavior. (Eysenck 1967 )

A significant contribution to the Eysenck's factor analysis was the techniques of analysis of the criteria, that allowed to allocate specific criterion of signs.  No less important conceptual position of Eysenck is the idea that the hereditary factor differentiating people on the parameters of the reactivity of the autonomic nervous system, speed and strength of conditioned responses, on the genotypic and phenotypic indicators as the basis of individual differences ( in neuroticism, and psychotism, extraversion - introversion). ()

Assuming that the imperfection of psychiatry, diagnoses was due to lack of personal psychodiagnostics, Eysenck developed for this purpose special questionnaires and adjust treatment methods in Psychoneurology. Eysenck tried to identify personality traits on the two main axes: introversion - extroversion (closed or open), and stability - instability (anxiety level).

Thus, the author of these psychological concepts believed that to disclose the substance of personality it was necessary to describe the structure of human qualities. He developed a special questionnaire that could be used to describe the personality, but not the whole individuality. Predicting the future behavior by that qualities is difficult, because in real life people's reactions are not constant and often depend on the circumstances that people face in a given time. (Eysenck, H & Eysenck, M. 1985)

Theoretical analysis showed that the theory of personality types is based on factor analysis. The hierarchical model of personality structure includes types, personality traits, habitual responses specific reactions. Types represent a continuum in which the two extremes are the characteristics of individuals. Eysenck emphasized that personality types are not discrete that most people do not fall under the extreme category.

The theory of types of Hans Eysenck developed on the basis of the mathematical apparatus of the factor analysis. This method assumes that people have different relatively constant personal qualities or traits, and that these traits can be measured by the correlation studies. Eysenck used the deductive method of scientific research, from theoretical considerations, and then collecting the data is logically relevant to this theory.

Eysenck placed special emphasis on the biological components of personality: according to his theory, the impact of the environment is practically no importance for the formation of personality. In his view, genetic factors have a much greater influence on subsequent behavior than children's experiences. (Eysenck 1967 )

The efforts to create a complete picture of Eysenck personality are worthy of admiration. Many psychologists consider him a first class professional, extremely professional in their attempts to create a scientifically based model of the structure and functioning of personality. All papers of Eysenck constantly emphasized the role of neurophysiological and genetic factors in explaining individual behavioral differences. In addition, he argues that an accurate measurement procedure is the cornerstone of building a convincing theory of personality.

 It should also be noted his contribution to research in the field of criminology, education, psychopathology and behavior change. 


Theories of personality based on factor analysis reflect the current interest in psychology to quantitative methods and, in turn, are reflected in the huge number of specially organized studies of personality.

In the field of psychotherapy Eysenck was one of the founders of behavioral psychotherapy. In terms of Eysenck theoretical basis and practical base behavioral psychotherapy aimed at changing in a positive direction modes of behavior and emotions of humans, modern learning theory and their fundamental laws.

Overall, it seems logical to conclude that the popularity of the theory of Eysenck has increased and will continue attempts of scientists to improve and expand his theory of personality traits on the theoretical and at empirical level.