Personality and Belief and Personality Neuroscience



Personality and Belief (Jordan Peterson)

Belief is generally considered a matter of rationality. Homo economicus is the man who “desires to possess wealth, and who is capable of judging the comparative efficacy of means for obtaining that end.” However, it is a very difficult computational task to “judge the comparative efficacy of means,” and the same thing could be said about ends. In consequence, people appear to use temperament-based heuristics to guide their decisions, such that their beliefs line up with their personalities. Thus, differences in what is often called “opinion” are more the consequence of biological predispositions, shaping the values by which people guide their perceptions and behaviors at the unconscious, implicit levels that frame cognition (rather than being the operation of explicit, articulable cognitive processes themselves).

Personality Neuroscience: Explaining the Biological Basis of Traits (Colin DeYoung)

Personality psychology has made considerable progress in identifying the most important dimensions of variation in personality. However, the resulting models were originally purely descriptive, indicating what the major dimensions of personality are but not what their sources might be. Current research allows us to identify the functions of different traits and to develop explanatory models. Personality neuroscience involves the use of techniques such as neuroimaging and molecular genetics, to investigate the biological substrates of personality traits, thus furthering the development of explanatory models of personality. I will present a theory of the biological sources of personality, using a hierarchy of personality traits based on the Big Five.