GCSE Psychology Unit 1: Personality Revision Sheet
Personality A relatively stable and enduring set of behaviours, thoughts and feeligns that distinguish an individual
from other people.
Temperament An individual’s natural disposition or inborn personality traits such as introversion or extroversion and
are often regarded as innate rather than learned.
Research conducted into temperament usually focuses on factors that are easily measurable and
testable early in childhood. These factors include irritability, activity, frequency of smiling and whether
the child is happy or uneasy with unfamiliar adults.
Thomas (1977) Conducted a longitudinal study to find out whether
people respond in a similar way throughout life.
Babies aged between 2 and 3 months at the start of
the study were assessed at various intervals between
infancy and adulthood. Parental ratings were used at
first but as the children got older teacher interviews
and school observations were collected.
The results showed that most could be put into one of
three distinct groups: easy difficult or slow to warm up.
Conclusions: as traits remained stable over time
temperament is innate.
: There were several measures of
temperament so the results were reliable.
It was a longitudinal study so data was
collected over time.
Although temperament was stable over
time it may be that the environment was also
stable so temperament may not be innate.
Examined similarities in twin temperament.
Identical (monozygotic) and non-identical (dizygotic)
twins were used and three measures of personality
(emotional, active and sociable)
The results showed correlations between
monozygotic twins were higher than those for
Conclusions: temperament is largely genetic as
monozygotic twins were very similar on all measures
A large sample of twins were used which
makes it reliable
The research was correlational which just
shows a relationship but does not show
cause and effect.
Kagan (1991). Kagan watched the reaction of babies at four months
old to a stimulus toy. Those infants with high levels of
motor activity and crying were more fearful of the
stimulus toy. These children, when tested again at 14
months were found to be shy and reserved. In
contrast the children that showed little or no reaction
to the new stimulus were more sociable at age 14
months. The results showed that a child’s
temperament could be determined at four months old.
There was a large sample size which
makes it easier to generalise to the wider
The children were tested in a lab and
therefore may not be like real life.
Eysenck believed that personality is innate (inborn) and therefore personality was made up of
permanent traits or characteristics. He suggested that there are three important traits to personality:
Extraversion– an outgoing nature, being interested in things outside of the self.
Introversion– more reserved and solitary in nature
Neuroticism- characterized by anxiety, moodiness, worry, envy, and jealousy
Eysenck created two questionnaires, the Eysenck
Personality Inventory (EPI) and Eysenck Personality
The personality scales were designed to measure the
personality types of people using yes/no
questionnaires and then people could be given a
score to show the level of extraversion, introversion
and neuroticism. The EPI measured extraversion and
neuroticism and the EPQ added a third dimension:
psychoticism (had traits such as aggressive,
unsympathetic, achievement oriented.)
There is some support for a genetic
(inborn) element of personality.
There are other competing theories that
could explain personality traits.
The characteristics of this disorder according to the Diagnostic Statistical Manualnumber 4 (DSM IV)
are shown in a total disregard for the rights of others that has been ongoing since the person was 15
or younger. Only people over the age of 18 can be diagnosed with this disorder. The DSM IV states
that for a person to be diagnosed with this disorder they must be the showing the following symptoms:
GCSE Psychology Unit 1: Personality Revision Sheet
Taking no notice of rules and breaking the law
Telling lies and being deceitful
Acting on impulse and not planning ahead
Aggressive to others
Not taking responsibility for own actions
Not being sorry if they hurt people
Causes of APD There is some doubt as to the cause of APD. Some studies have shown that it could be biological
(e.g. brain dysfunction), while other studies have shown that it could be situational factors (e.g. the
way they were brought up).
Raine (2000) Raine conducted research to see if criminal’s brains
were different in people with APD. Brain scans of
people with APD who had a history or violent crimes
were compared to men who had no history of
violence. The results showed that the APD group had
less activity in the pre-frontal cortex and abnormality
in the amygdala. Conclusion: APD may be caused by
the problems in the pre-frontal cortex which is the part
of the brain that is responsible for feeling remorse and
The study used brain scans which are
objective and gives evidence for APD to
have a biological cause.
The study only used males, therefore it
cannot be generalised to females.
In contrast to the biological approach of Raine,
Farrington looked at the situational factors and
investigated whether the behaviour of children could
predict behaviour later in life. A longitudinal study was
conducted starting when participants (all males) were
8 years old and followed them until they were 32. The
characteristics investigated included how parents
treated the participants and any anti-social behaviour
exhibited. The participants also were given IQ tests
and school performance was measured. The results
showed that APD could be predicted by antisocial
behaviour, low IQ and school attainment, poor
childrearing by the parents, impulsive behaviour and
criminal activity in the family.
Conclusions were that APD can be traced to
A large sample was used (411 males)
The risk factors were good predictors of
Not all people with these characteristics
go on to develop APD
Only males were used in the sample
therefore the findings cannot be generalised
Elander (2000). Investigated childhood risk factors for APD in twins
who had been diagnosed with childhood disorders.
The twins were followed up 10 – 25 years after
diagnosis. Results showed that criminal behaviour
and APD could be predicted from childhood disorders,
mainly hyperactivity, conduct disorders and low IQ.
Conclusions were that APD can be predicted from
certain childhood disorders.
There is evidence to suggest that
childhood disorders can predict APD, this
gives the opportunity to intervene and
prevent the disorder.
A very small sample (13 men) was used
and it is hard to generalise from such a small
Research has shown that APD can be predicted from childhood and if families with a lot of risk factors
are identified and helped when the children are quite young, then it may be possible to reduce the
incidence of APD in later life. However, it is important to identify the children when they are quite
young as Raine argues that it may be too late once they are old enough to be diagnosed with APD.