Neural Factors

"The nineteenth-century science of phrenology proposed that each personality trait had a particular locus in the brain that shaped the skull above it. Today we view this kind of brain localization as fallacious. But in the search for simplicity we may be creating a new kind of phrenology, one more sound in accord with real brain entities and modern neurophysiology, but still innacurate. The new prhrenology suggests that each personality trait is based on one particular brain structure or system or one biochemical."

Steinmetz (1994) investigated the neural structures that are likely to be involved in the encoding of emotions and temperament. These systems included the septohippocampal system, the amygdala, the basal ganglia, and the neurocortex. The conclusion; "although researchers have identified specific structures that seem to be involved in generating and maintaining temperament-related behaviors, all evidence to date suggests that these structures are highly interrelated and act as a rather intricate and integrated system (p.43). Furthermore, "because a great number of factors can influence the overall function of this neural system-factors like genetics, developmental processes, biochemistry, neurochemistry, and learning memory-the individual differences in behavior become more and more likely" (p.43).

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Peter L. Heineman
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