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Attentional ERPs and attitude to risk

Kirkcaldie, J 2000 , 'Attentional ERPs and attitude to risk', Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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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 — 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,
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.

Item Type: Thesis - Coursework Master
Authors/Creators:Kirkcaldie, J
Keywords: Extraversion, Introversion, Risk-taking (Psychology), Compulsive gambling, Gambling
Copyright Holders: The Author
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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).

Additional Information:

Thesis (M.Psych.)--University of Tasmania, 2000. Includes bibliographical references

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