Let’s take a look at
different ways of looking at your
personality in terms of social cognition.
So personality, based in this model is based
on the interaction between three things:
your behavior, your cognitive
abilities, and environmental factors.
So, the behavioral component
of behavioral learn through
So this is -- we’ve seen this before
and I’m sure you’ve read this before.
That’s really important.
Then we have observational
or vicarious learning.
This is when you view another’s
behavior with consequences.
And this happens a
lot as a child.
So think of a scenario where you're
either watching your parents
do something like, I don’t
know, steal a slice of pie
that’s been sitting
on the counter
and your mother or the dads wife
said, “Do not touch this pie.”
And the dad goes in and sneaks and takes
the pie and eats it and what happens?
The mother comes
around the corner,
sees that a slice is missing and
starts yelling at the father.
“I told you! What’s
wrong with you?”
And starts slapping the
father on a little bit, okay?
Now, the child realizes that,
“Okay, the dad was told something,
did not follow, and
he was punished.”
And that observational learning
is really, really important.
There’s the cognitive component where this
includes mental processes involved with
observational learning, the point that we
just mentioned, and self-efficacy beliefs.
So now, we’re bringing
that thinking component.
So what did I just learn?
What were the consequences?
And really using your mind
to piece all that together
and also layering that on top
of yourself efficacy beliefs.
And the module that we talked about self-efficacy
is our quick reminder that is how --
how do you feel about
your skill set?
How efficacious or good are
you doing certain things?
So that will help shape -- shape
your personality as well.
So if you feel that you’re
really good at doing something,
you have good belief in
that’s going to bolster and change
and modify your personality.
There’s an environmental
So that can include a situational influences
or opportunities, rewards, punishments.
So, let’s go back to the scenario of
classical conditioning or operate learning.
We’re going to talk about
that in just a sec.
But there are rewards
So, depending on your environment, if
you are rewarded for good behavior,
then you’re going to
continue that behavior
and that will then go on to
shape your personality, right?
So you continue to do
really good things,
that now part becomes
part of your personality.
And if you’re continually being punished
because you’re doing things inappropriately,
that’s going to also
shape your personality.
So the environment, the situation
you’re in, the setting that you’re in,
the opportunities that are
presented to you, the rewards,
and the punishment can all
shape your personality.
And then another point I
wanted to bring up is
something called “Cognitive
Behavioral Therapy” or CBT.
And CBT is really unique.
It’s gotten extremely popular
in that last 15 to 20 years
because it is really great at
identifying your behavior,
but then allowing you to
use your mind or your
cognition to help shape or
influence that behavior.
So patients identify dysfunctional
or irrational thought,
and then they can modify their behavior
to help change their thinking.
So it’s really, really efficacious,
really useful and so many different
things like addiction and
depression and dealing with stress.
Again, what it’s doing
is it’s putting the onus
on you to help modify your behavior
based on cognitive abilities.
So you’re using your mind
to change your behavior.
Now, let’s take a look at the
biology behind personality.
So we can’t say that all of
the personality is driven
by all the different theories
we just talked about.
There needs to be
something more to it.
And this biological perspective
brings that to the table.
And say that personality
is at least in part due to
differences amongst people.
So, what we’re saying is that you’re
born with certain personality traits.
And this tends to be believable
because of this genetic
predisposition or heritability
of basic personality traits.
And we know that, you know, if
your parents are extremely calm
or if they’re really extroverted
or if they’re really introverted.
There’s a strong likelihood that
you will inherit some of that.
And so that’s why we’re
saying that’s innate.
It’s not necessarily 100%
completely acquired through
observational learning or being
in that cultural environment.
Some of it might come
simply because it’s innate.
what you can also do further is
look at actual brain structure.
So we know that there is a linkage
between some of these basic
personality traits and certain brain
structures and their function.
So, Hans Eysenck, he proposed
that the level of extroversion
is based on differences
of a specific structure.
That structure is the reticular
formation in the brain.
So he used to tease that out.
He says, “Introverts have a lower threshold,
tolerate less external stimulation.
So, what does this
threshold refer to?
Threshold is an amount, a
line, an imaginary line,
certain level of activation that
you need to initiate a response.
If you have a high threshold, that means
you need a lot of stimulation in order to
achieve that threshold and surpass
it and initiate a response.
If you have a -- if you
have a high threshold,
you can take a lot of stimulation
before you initiate a response.
So introverts have a low threshold, therefore
it’s really easy to stimulate them.
So, imagine an introvert having a little
threshold being in a quiet place.
And as soon as it starts getting loud
and a lot of people are talking,
they’re trying to interact
socially, they don’t like that.
It’s too much
stimulation for them.
initiated a response.
As opposed to extroverts,
they can take a lot,
a lot of stimulation and can be in
a really loud environment because
they’re less easily aroused, and
you see them being drawn to that.
Extroverts like to be where
the hustle and bustle is at.
They like to be at a lot of party,
where introverts like to be
in a quiet room reading a book
away from other individuals.
So, correlations have
been also been found with
volume of brain structures
within the limbic system.
And if you remember the limbic system
contain the structures like the
nucleus accumbens, the ventral tegmental
area, and the prefrontal cortex.
And these structures typically will have
a certain volume and shape and size
and there seems to be
So, introvert seems to have --
between introverts and
extroverts you see this
difference in the volume
of the brain structures.
Jeffrey Alan Gray proposed that
personality is governed by interactions
of three brain systems, and we’ve
seen some of these before.
The first being the sympathetic nervous system
and that is the fight or flight system.
And that might mediate
fearfulness and avoidance.
So, we believe that the interactions
that shape your personality
might be linked to those behaviors
in that brain structure.
Behavioral inhibition systems
might mediate worry and anxiety.
And Behavioral approach systems might
modulate optimism and impulsivity.
So again, what we’re trying to do
here is link personality traits
and personality and behavior to specific
brain systems and brain structures.