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Alan J. Robinson robin073 at maroon.tc.umn.edu
Sat Jan 20 13:44:50 EST 1996

On Fri, 19 Jan 96 08:15:36 GMT, 
George Hammond  <prep at unix.ccsnet.com > wrote:

>Personality psychologists are aware that empirical research on the Structural 
>Model of Personality (herein SMOP) is currently very advanced.  Eysenck's 
>E,N,P, the Big-5, Cattell's 16PF are highly visible fixtures in today's 
>literature.  Eysenck's and Gray's neuropsychological models are extremly well 
>entrenched.  In fact, the case can be made that "empirically speaking", the 
>Structural Model has been discovered.
>THE PROBLEM is that an "empirical" result is only half a discovery- there's no 
>theoretical explanation for it- in fact, it can be argued that there IS NO 
>theoretical explanation of it- leastwise not one, simple, singular, pure, 
>axiomatic explanation for it.
>I would be fascinated in the extreme of course, in the comments of any 
>Personality researcher who doubts the veracity of this historic claim- this 
>historic calling card to history.


Personality research is now entering a new phase based on molecular 
biology.  Crick discussed how psychological research would eventually 
become "molecular" psychology in his 1984 book "What Mad Pursuit".  
Prof. C. Robert Cloninger's publication of his brain model starting in 
1986 marked the beginning of this transition, and the report at the 
begining of this year of the discovery of the effect on personality 
of the dopamine D4 receptor polymorphism is another major step.

Cloninger's model, which now includes 4 temperament factors and 3 
character factors, does not capture all the variability in 
personality.  In fact, Cloninger himself has pointed out that 
the important but somewhat ill-defined concept of extraversion
is not properly captured by his model, even after factor rotation.  

Cloninger, building on the work of Eysenck and Gray, has provided a 
sound neurological basis for temperament, but the character aspects of 
personality, which depend on how and where experience is coded in the 
brain, lie far beyond the reach of present day science.  Cloninger has 
also pointed out that the factors in the Big-5 type models are 
themselves composites of several different neurophysiological axes, 
thus there cannot be a unique correspondence with brain structure 
or function.

BTW, personality research is a very highly competitive branch of 
psychology, as the researchers are often engaged in the business of 
selling personality tests and testing services.  This can make it 
difficult to ascertain the true "state of the art" just by reading 
some of the literature - these people don't always go out of their 
way to mention competing models.  Caveat emptor, so to speak <g>.


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