Introduction to Biological & Evolutionary Perspectives on Personality
One of the main criticisms of most Western personality theories is that they fall prey to Descartes' mind-body dualism, and treat personality and almost exclusively psychological. But we also saw some examples where this was not the case, i.e., the 4 Greek humors, William Sheldon's 3 somatotypes, and Ayurvedic medicine's 3 doshas.
These theories do not identify the mechanisms of the proposed relationships between body and personality, and most theories of personality do not easily account for the origins of personality and personality characteristics. These questions are taken up more directly by sociobiology, evolutionary psychology, and behavioral genetics.
"Most people of course, whatever they may say, do not in fact want a scientific account of human nature and personality at all....Hence they much prefer the great story-teller, S. Freud, or the brilliant myth-creator, C. G. Jung, to those who, like Cattell or Guilford, expect them to learn matrix algebra, study physiological details of the nervous system, and actually carry out experiments rather than rely on interesting anecdote, sex-ridden case histories, and ingenious speculation."
We are biological creatures. We exist because of our genetics, the food
we've eaten, the air we breathe; we think because of the neurons which
fire in our brains. Is it possible, then, that variations in our biology
may cause the personality differences we observe in behaviour?
The biological model does not represent a cohesive, theoretical approach
(compared, say, to the psychoanalytic perspective), but rather is a
collection of efforts looking for links between personality and biology,
and seeking out the origins of human personality and behavior in
evolutionary theory and evidence.
The main areas of investigation are:
There are three general thrusts to the biological perspective: