DEVELOPMENT OF PERSONALITY

Eysenck Personality Type Theory

Eysenck Personality Type Theory

Eysenck’s Personality Type Theory

It is very difficult to classify personality as each individual is unique. For the purposes of psychological research, however, attempts have been made to split people into personality types. Eysenck divided people into three sorts.

Extroverts: Generally speaking these people are outgoing, energetic, sociable and seek lots of stimulation from the outside world.

Introverts: This personality type tends to be quieter, shyer and more likely to spend time doing things on their own.

Neurotics: This personality type is often low in self-confidence, irritable, moody and will respond fearfully to new or intimidating situations.

The Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI)

This is a scale Eysenck invented to measure what kind of personality type an individual has. In order to make this measurement the individual is required to answer two sets of questions to which only a yes/no answer can be given. The first set relates to levels of extroversion and introversion. The second set of questions determine if you are more stable or unstable. Depending on your answers you will be identified with one of the following four personality types.

Stable extrovert: chatty, approachable, laid-back, happy-go-lucky

Stable introvert: calm, dependable, thoughtful, careful

Unstable extrovert: touchy, restless, changeable, rash, excitable

Unstable introvert: temperamental, negative, distant, quiet

The Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ)

Unlike the EPI, which gives you a personality category, the EPQ gives you three separate scores for extroversion, neuroticism and psychoticism. People who score highly for psychoticism are more likely to be unfeeling, cruel, sadistic (enjoy causing emotional or physical distress to other people) and aggressive.

Limitations of Eysenck’s type theory

Many would argue that the theory is too simplistic i.e. it boils something as complex as personality down to four categories.

The assessment relies on the honesty of the participant when answering the questions. The answers they give may be influenced by mood.

Eysenck believes that personality is genetic and fails to consider that it may change over time.