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Personality Traits Are Inherited

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Personality traits combine several aspects of a person's character such as their needs and wants, their feelings and opinions as well as how others perceive them to be (Bernstein et al., 2008).



There are many different theorist and researchers who support the genetic influence of personality traits. Some of the more well known ones are Hans Eysenck and Jeffrey Gray, biological trait theorists, and Thomas Bouchard, a prominent personality trait and twin researcher.


Biological Trait Theorists
Hans Eysenck
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Hans Eysenck was born March 4, 1916, in Germany and was well known as a controversialist. After graduating from high school, he left Germany due to his dislike of the Nazi Regime. He moved to England at the age of 18, where he completed his Ph.D. at the University of London, in Psychology. During World War II, he worked at an emergency hospital as a psychologist; here he did much research on the reliability of psychiatric diagnoses.

After the war, he worked as a professor at the University of London. He has written 75 books and over 700 papers. Many of his papers relate to the treatment of mental illnesses which challenged the effectiveness of psychotherapy. He argued that the various methods of treatment available, especially psychoanalysis, were no better than no treatment at all. While this infuriated some and worried others, it also challenged many to test his theories. Much research since this time has been accomplished and demonstrates "psychotherapy to be an effective approach to the treatment of mental illness".

Eysenck was a biological theorist and through this he encouraged a great deal of research on the biological components of personality. He stated that intelligence was largely inherited and introduced the world to his concepts of extroversion-introversion and neurotic, his two original dimensions of temperment. Eventually he added a third dimension, psychoticism, after he realized there was a large population of people he had not encompassed (Heffner Media Group, Inc., 2003).

He retired in 1983, however he continued to write until his dealth on September 4, 1997. The following link goes further into validating and explaining his theory. Eysenck's Theory in Practice.



Jeffrey Alan Gray
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Born May 26 1934; died April 30 2004 (69 years old)


Jeffrey Gray was born in the east end of London. His father was a tailor, but died when Jeffrey was seven years old. Jeffrey was raised by his mother, who ran a haberdasher's shop. Jeffrey was very intelligent. He received A-levels in Latin, Greek and history at Ilford County high school for boys, where he also won the school boxing championship. He undertook military service from 1952 until 1954, during which period he learned Russian, at the time he was a key interest for Army intelligence. In addition to Russian, he spoke French, Spanish, Italian and Persian, which was his wife's native language. He could as readily give a lecture in Russian; translate Mallarmé from French; negotiate a land sale with a Greek peasant; or conduct an interview in Persian on Iranian television.

Following military service, he took up a MacKinnon scholarship at Magdalen College, Oxford, with a place to read law. He stayed to take a second BA, this time in psychology and philosophy, which he completed in 1959. He managed to offset some of the financial costs by giving jive lessons, as well as by language teaching - he was approached by New College to become their French tutor when he was 23.

His postgraduate work both broadened and deepened his interests in psychology. In 1959-60 he undertook a course in clinical psychology at the institute of Psychiatry, in London, which led to the award of a Dip Psychol. He stayed at the institute to study for a PhD in the department of psychology, at that time headed by Professor Hans Eysenck. (see above to for biography). His PhD was awarded in 1964.

From his earliest student days, he was immensely energetic, imaginative and productive. Where others might simply write some research articles and a review paper, he might well write a book, too. He received a president's award from the British Psychological Society in 1983, and became president of the Experimental Psychology Society in 1996 (and a lifetime honorary member in 1999).

His energy and enthusiasm were just as clear outside the laboratory. Throughout his life he loved drama - he directed the The Winter's Tale in the Deer Park at Magdalen, casting the young Dudley Moore as Autolycus - as well as dance, opera, jazz and the cinema. He also developed passions for skiing and horse riding. He had enjoyed a wonderful ski trip shortly before the final stage of his illness began. He is survived by his wife, Venus, and his four children, Ramin, Babak, Leila and Afsaneh (Harnad).

Click on the following link to learn about Jeffrey Gray's Approach-Inhibition Theory
Gray's Theory in Practice. And to read a scholarlyarticle based on his approach.


Thomas Bouchard
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Professor Thomas Bouchard was born October 3rd, 1937 in Manchester, New Hampshire. He is a professor of psychology and Director of the Minnesota Study for Twin and Family Research, University of Minnesota. Bouchard receive his Ph.D. from the University of Caifornia, Belrkley in 1966.

Some of his awards include:


Bouchard's Research

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