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Review
. 1992 Sep;26(3):364-76.
doi: 10.3109/00048679209072059.

The Biology of Personality

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Review

The Biology of Personality

R Mulder. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. .

Abstract

Historically, models of personality have generally postulated, or assumed, a link with biology. This century has witnessed a major revision of these ideas with both behavioural and psychoanalytic theorists emphasising life experiences as being largely responsible for behaviour as adults. Challenges to this assumption of the overwhelming importance of life experiences are reviewed. An extensive body of data now exists suggesting that biology contributes significantly to individual variability. This biological contribution occurs at a relatively low level in the central nervous system, best defined as temperament. Further research has suffered from the lack of a cohesive psychobiological model. Cloninger's tridimensional theory of personality is presented as a model which attempts to bridge the gap between theoretical temperamental traits, neurotransmitter function and clinical psychiatry. It is to be hoped that new theoretical models will be formulated which will focus on the importance of temperamental variables in psychiatric disorders.

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