University of Tasmania
whole_KirkcaldieJames2000_thesis.pdf (4.71 MB)

Attentional ERPs and attitude to risk

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posted on 2023-05-26, 17:20 authored by Kirkcaldie, J
The introversion-extraversion spectrum has remained a major focus for research into the biological basis of personality. Most recent work suggests that introverts exhibit greater phasic arousal to stimuli of moderate intensity, whereas extraverts display larger responses to more intense stimuli (Stelmack, 1990). For this reason, extraverts are often considered more likely to be drawn to high-arousal activities such as gambling (Hatano & Inagaki, 1977). However, this logical assumption has failed to find support in a number of studies (Ansari & Ahmad, 1977; Barnes & Sharda, 1987), which have shown no correlation between extraversion and gambling. Instead, measures of a participant's risk-taking tendencies (an independent element within extraversion) have proven to be the best indicator of their attraction to gambling (Ansari & Ahmad, 1977). Given this, value appears to lie in future research investigating whether physiological differences exist between extravert groupings and, by extension, how this may relate to activities such as gambling.Many psychologists consider differences in personality to be a reflection of unique biological underpinnings. However, a clear understanding of the physiological processes that may be involved has remained elusive, despite having been explored since the late 1930s (Cahill & Polich, 1992). The introversion-extraversion personality dimension has provided a major focus for such physiological research. Consequently, this spectrum is thought to have acquired a better theoretical substructure and identified more links with physiology than most (Eysenck, 1981). One of the most widely recognised biological theories explaining the existence of personality is Eysenck's (1967) 'arousal theory'. This theory focuses on the introversion-extraversion personality dimension and the region of the brain stem Eysenck considered responsible for this continuum: the ascending reticular activating system (ARAS). However, with the development of this theoretical framework came debate as to what this personality construct actually represented and its overall validity. This was most evident with the concept of extraversion ‚ÄövÑvÆ seen as 'sociability' by American researchers, whereas European researchers associated it with 'impulsiveness' (Carrigan, 1960). Eysenck and Eysenck (1963) acknowledged this by recognising sociability and impulsiveness as discrete components within extraversion. However, this distinction was then complicated by a further subdivision of 'impulsiveness' (in its broad sense) into four sub-factors: impulsiveness (specific), risk-taking, non-planning, and liveliness (Eysenck & Eysenck, 1977). Whether these sub-traits of extraversion have some sort of physiological basis remains unclear and provides the focus for this review. Accordingly, this paper will consider the findings of relevant electrodermal and electroencephalographic (EEG) research, before attempting to unite this with more behaviourally oriented data relating to the arousal-oriented activity of gambling. It is hoped that by doing so, more specific, potentially physiologically significant personality characteristics associated with gambling may be identified for future investigation.


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Copyright 1999 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (M.Psych.)--University of Tasmania, 2000. Includes bibliographical references

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