TASK 4 - BIOLOGICAL BASES Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in TASK 4 - BIOLOGICAL BASES Deck (39)

four humours (galen)

- personality/temperament depends on strength of fluids/humours
1. blood = sanguine; cheerful
2. black bile = melancholic; depressive
3. yellow bile = choleric; angry
4. phlegm = phlegmatic; calm


temperament in dogs (pavlov)

1. strong balanced mobile = sanguine --> lively, fast, eager
2. weak = melancholic --> inhibited, anxious, easily upset
3. strong unbalanced = choleric --> excitable, hyperactive, irritable
4. strong balanced slow = phlegmatic --> calm, consistent


cloninger's theory
= tridimensional personality model

= relations between neurotransmitters and personality dimensions


A. dopamine (cloninger)

= facilitates response to pleasurable, exciting stimuli; transmission of signals of reward
- active = high levels of novelty seeking (= tendency to seek pleasure and excitement) --> exploratory, excitability, impulsiveness
- inactive = low in novelty seeking --> not motivated to find fun and variety


B. serotonin (cloninger)

= inhibits response to harmful, unpleasant stimuli; transmission of signals of punishment
- inactive = high levels of harm avoidance (= tendency to avoid pain and anxiety) --> worry, pessimism, fear of uncertainty
- active = low in harm avoidance --> not motivated to avoid pain and anxiety (risk-taking)


C. noradrenaline (cloninger)

= inhibits response to stimuli that have previously been associated with pleasure; transmission of signals of conditioned reward
- inactive = high levels of reward dependence (= tendency to develop strong sentimental attachments; related to one’s response to people/things that have tended to be associated with pleasure) --> sentimentality, warm communication, dependence
- active = low levels in reward dependence --> not develop strong sentimental attachments


gray's theory
= reinforcement sensitivity theory

= certain regions of the brain work together as mechanisms or systems that underlie personality
- differences among people in activity of these systems are basis of important personality dimensions


A. behavioural activation system (gray)

= regions of brain receiving signals indicating that rewards are being experienced
- ‘GO’ system = encourages pursuit of rewards --> signals to communicate pleasurable and exciting nature of rewards
- differences in tendency to be impulsive, seek pleasure and excitement --> the stronger, the more one tends to pursue rewards
--> cloninger's novelty seeking


B. behavioural inhibition system (gray)

= regions of brain receiving signals indicating that punishments are being experienced
- 'STOP' system = encourages the avoidance of punishments --> signals to communicate the painful and frightening nature of punishments
- differences in tendency to be anxious and to avoid pain --> the stronger, the more one tends to avoid punishments
--> cloninger's harm avoidance


C. fight-or-flight system (gray)

= regions of the brain motivating extreme reactions (fight or flight) in response to extremely threatening situations
- differences in tendency to show extreme reactions, (responding aggressively, leaving hurriedly) --> the stronger, the more ready one is to fight or to flee when an emergency situation arises
--> cloninger's reward dependency


eyseneck's theory
= theory of personality

A. extraversion vs. introversion
B. neuroticism vs. emotional stability
C. psychoticism


A. extraversion vs. introversion

= strength of reactions to stimulation (difference in arousability of people’s brains)
1. extraversion: seek stimulation, bored by low level of stimulation (enjoy loud noises, bright colours, meeting people)
2. introversion: avoid stimulation, prefer low level of stimulation (prefer quieter surroundings, enjoy being alone)

ARAS (ascending reticular activating system):
- brain stem
- regulates amount of stimulation that is admitted to brain from NS which receives stimulation
- little stimulation in ARAS: under-aroused = seek stimulation = extraversion


B. neuroticism vs. emotional stability

= strength of reactions to stressful stimuli (difference in sensitivity to stress)
1. neurotic: great deal of stress, sensitive to stress (nervousness, anxiety, fear)
2. emotionally stable: less sensitive to stress (little negative emotions caused by stresses)

limbic system:
- regulate responses to stress
- overwhelmed by stressful stimuli = neurotic


C. psychoticism

- high levels: aggressiveness, manipulation, tough mindedness, risk taking, impulsivity (criminal behaviour, mental illnesses, creativity)
- low levels: opposite

high levels of testosterone +low levels of monoamine oxidase (MAO)


zuckerman's model

= five factors representing basic dimensions of personality/temperament
1. activity, 2. sociability, 3. impulsive sensation seeking, 4. aggression, 5. neuroticism-anxiety
- each dimensions is caused by its own set of interactions among brain structures, neurotransmitters + hormones


= original reinforcement sensitivity theory (gray)

= focused on motivational systems
- BAS = approach system
- BIS = defined avoidance orientation.


= revised reinforcement sensitivity theory

= sees BIS as comparator that evaluates whether to approach/avoid stimulus
- better definitions (BIS, BAS, FFFS).
√ strong basic personality model, grounded in neuroscience and animal learning
x under-utilised in literature, not have breadth in research
- most modern models under-represent systems of the r-RST (biologically-based) --> despite processing other qualities


hybrid model of learning in personality (HMLP)
- comparison to gray

= concept of BAS; sensation seeking is potentially dysfunctional if directly expressed, but likely to be functional if expressed through socio-cognitive mediators (e.g. rationality/ conscientiousness)
- sensation seeking concerns exploratory behaviour that is not necessarily associated with reinforcement
√ clear differentiation between biological basis of sensation seeking and socio-cognitive mediators
√ sensation seeking consistent with BAS in r-RST
x only concerns BAS & mediators
x under-utilised in literature, no measure of punishment sensitivity


approach & avoidance temperament model (AATM)
- comparison to gray

= behaviour distally predicted by temperament & proximally predicted by goals
--> approach temperament vs. avoidance temperament
- biologically based, makes predictions from BAS & BIS through socio-cognitive mechanisms of goals
√ clear differentiation between biological basis and socio-cognitive goals
x under-utilised in literature
x outdated (based on o-RST)


psychobiological model of temperament & character (PMTC)
- comparison to gray

= character (socio-cognitive) is thought to predict outcomes independently from temperament (biological)
- incorporates genes & environment
- character dimensions: self-directedness, cooperativeness, self-transcendence
√ biological, includes amount of literature
x outdated (based on o-RST)



= biological chemicals that are produced in glands of one part of the body, transmitted to other parts of body where they have their effects


- hormones

= responsible for many physical characteristics of men (development of male reproductive organs, hair growth, voice, muscle mass)
- situationally influenced (increase after victory, sex; decline after defeat)
- influence individual’s behaviour during early development
- higher levels: being wilder, more unruly
- lower levels: better behaved, more socially responsible, better academic achievement, more friendly


- hormones

= released by adrenal cortex (perimeter of adrenal glands) which are located above the kidneys; triggered by physical or psychological stress
- prepare body for action in response to stress (increase in blood pressure, blood sugar, suppression of immune system)
- little cortisol release = emotionally insensitive/reactive
- low cortisol = high sensation-seeking levels/risk-taking (men)


- hormones

= produced in hypothalamus, released by pituitary gland
- release promotes close attachment with others = emotional bonding (giving birth, breastfeeding, orgasm)
- contribute to cooperative relationships by being trusting + trustworthy
- higher levels = more trusting + trustworthy


mechanisms of action
- oxytocin

= neuropeptides can influence neurotransmission, not in same way as classical neurotransmitters (GABA, serotonin, dopamine)
- slower degradation --> no effect over longer distances and thus no temporal specificity
1. dynamic concept: different areas of the brain use different modes of communication
- exposure to certain stimuli can lead from one form of peptide release to another
- emphasises task dependency, context + individual differences
2. volume transmission: three-dimensional diffusion into extracellular fluid + lack of obvious structural extracellular communication pathways
- source of release may be distant from target cells
3. priming hypothesis: peptidergic oxytocin signal can trigger dendritic peptide release that is independent of electrical activity


interaction with other systems
- oxytocin

= social affiliative behaviour (modulated by oxytocin) is accompanied by modulation of dopaminergic reward pathways
- oxytocin can effectively modulate reward-related brain regions + elevate serotonin levels


behaviour modulation
- oxytocin

= oxytocin modulates social behaviour
- by increasing trust, empathy & pair bonding or by reducing social stress & anxiety
- precise outcome mediated by context + individual variation
- fear + emotion regulation: oxytocin reduces amygdala activation in response to fear
--> strongest effect when strong or socially relevant stimuli
- anxiety: oxytocin reduces heightened anxiety


functional connectivity
- ocytocin

= prolonged priming effect of oxytocin can elicit functional rewiring of neural networks
- rewiring = temporary alteration (strengthening/weakening) of the way the network is configured and how it responds


social regulation of stress

= social interaction and oxytocin are linked through feedback loop (specific social contexts promote OT release) --> regulates social cognition and behaviour
- oxytocin reduces cortisol release in stressful situations (especially in interaction with social support)


oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR)

= responsible for encoding oxytocin receptor protein
- variations influence strength of oxytocin signal by affecting the number/ distribution/ efficiency of receptors
- variants seem relevant to understanding individual differences in social behaviour and stress regulation


two most widely studied OXTR SNPs

1. Rs53576 = associated with responses to social support
- A allele: reduced responsiveness to social support received in anticipation of stress --> more stressed, lower tendency to seek social support = more oxytocin
- G allele: less cortisol secretion, more oxytocin in response to social support --> less stressed, higher tendency to seek social support
2. Rs2254298 = associated with attachment status
- A allele: secure attachment = more oxytocin
- G allele: insecure attachment = lower levels of oxytocin


theoretical model for development of individual differences in social regulation of stress

= genetic variants of OXTR are relevant during at least 2 stages of the psychological feedback loop --> connects stable cognitive representations of relationships in context of acute stress
- role for oxytocin in individual differences, in responses to social support following stress
- role for oxytocin in early development of stable cognitive representations of relationships --> influence how individuals use social support to regulate their stress


personality neuroscience

= use of neuroscience methods to study individual differences in behaviour, motivation, emotion and cognition
- three levels at which personality can be analysed:
1) traits: relatively stable patterns of behaviour, motivation, emotion
2) characteristic adaptations: individual’s specific responses to particular life circumstances
3) life stories


1. meta-traits
2. big five
3. aspects
4. facets

1a. stability: tendency to regulate/restrain potentially disruptive emotion & behaviour
- serotonin: regulatory/inhibiting effect on mood, behaviour & cognition
2a. neuroticism
3. withdrawal, volatility
2b. agreeableness
3. compassion, politeness
2c. conscientiousness
3. industriousness, orderliness

1b. plasticity: tendency to explore + engage with possibilities
- dopamine: 2 branches
2d. extraversion
3. enthusiasm, assertiveness
--> 1 to brain regions involved in motivation, emotion & reward (nucleus accumbens, amygdala) = extraversion
2e. openness to experience
3. openness, intellect
--> 1 to structures for higher cognition (prefrontal cortex) = openness to experience

4. number and identity of facets is unclear


2a. neuroticism

= sensitivity to punishment and negative affect; tendency to experience negative emotions and cognitions that accompany experiences of threat and punishment
- brain activity at rest or in response to aversive or novel stimuli in amygdala, insula and anterior cingulate
- neural activity in medial prefrontal cortex (= poor emotion regulation) + reduced volume
- BIS: passive avoidance in situations where goals are in conflict --> hippocampus and amygdala
- FFFS: responses to proximal threat or punishment --> amygdala, hypothalamus, periaqueductal gray.
- lower serotonin levels (modulates BIS and FFFS)


2b. agreeableness

= tendency toward altruism & opposed to exploitation of others
- volume in brain regions associated with social information processing (superior temporal gyrus, posterior cingulate cortex, fusiform gyrus)
- ability to suppress aggressive impulses & other socially disruptive emotions
--> left DLPFC (emotion regulation)


2c. conscientiousness

= top-down control of behaviour and impulses in order to follow rules and pursue non-immediate goals
- prefrontal cortex: greater volume in regions involved in maintaining goal-relevant info in WM + execution of planned action based on abstract rules.
- low serotonin levels: linked to absence of control


2d. extraversion

= sensitivity to reward and positive affect
- dopamine (component of BAS) : sensitivity to reward, drives behaviour that involves approaching potential rewards
3. enthusiasm (= sociability & positive emotionality): linked to liking --> relates to opioid system
3. assertiveness: linked to wanting


2e. openness/intellect

= tendency to explore, detect, appreciate and use patterns in abstract sensory information
3. intellect: intelligence and working-memory
- dopamine influence on prefrontal cortex