Chapter 07

For each term below, first note how you would define the term. Then, click on the arrow to reveal the book’s definition.

Activity trait

A sub-trait of extraversion that reflects a tendency to be busy and energetic and to have a preference for fast-paced living.


Refers to an individual who scores high on both the expressive and instrumental personality dimensions.

Autonomic nervous system

A branch of the nervous system that controls physiological functioning (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure, respiration) relatively automatically.


Sheldon’s term for the tense, introverted, socially restrained, and inhibited personality associated with the ectomorph somatotype.

Dispositional/trait approach

A perspective on personality that emphasizes the person; examples include biological theories and trait theories.


A body type characterized by linearity, tallness, and leanness; in constitutional theory, individuals with this body type are characterized as tense, introverted, socially restrained, and inhibited.


A body type characterized by plumpness, fatness, and roundedness; in constitutional theory, this body type is linked with affection, sociability, relaxation, and joviality.

Expressive personality

A personality characterized by such traits as understanding, sympathy, affection, and compassion.


In Eysenck’s personality theory, the dimension of the personality driven by the level of arousal in the cortex of the brain.


A personality construct defined as a sense of control over events; commitment, dedication, or involvement in everyday life; and a tendency to perceive life events as challenges and opportunities rather than as stressors.

Instrumental personality

A personality characterized by traits such as risk taking, independence, aggression, and competitiveness.


A predisposition to select a particular level of physical effort when given the opportunity to choose the level.


A trait that influences one’s ability to continue exercising at an imposed level of physical effort even when the activity becomes uncomfortable or unpleasant.

Interactionist perspective

A behavioral model that views both the individual and the situation in which the individual is involved as important in determining behavior.

Learning/situational approach

An approach to studying personality that emphasizes how the environment influences a person’s behavior.

Limbic system

The collection of brain structures responsible for emotional responding.


A body type characterized by wide, muscular shoulders and narrow hips—the classic athletic body type. In constitutional theory, individuals with this body type are thought to be adventurous, risk-taking, dominant, and aggressive. Such individuals also tend to be leaders.

Neuroticism-stability dimension

In Eysenck’s personality theory, the dimension associated with limbic system activity and the autonomic nervous system.


The underlying, relatively stable psychological structures and processes that organize human experience and shape a person’s actions and reactions to the environment.

Personality core

A reflection of who we are, developed from early environmental interactions; it includes such things as our perceptions of the external world; perceptions of self; basic attitudes, values, interests, and motives; and our self-concept.

Psychobiological model

A model based on the assumption that both biological and psychological factors influence behavior.

Psychoticism–superego dimension

In Eysenck’s personality theory, the dimension of personality that is driven by hormonal function. 

Role-related behaviors

Variable, daily behaviors influenced by the particular contexts in which individuals find themselves.


Sheldon’s term for the adventurous, risk-taking, dominant, and aggressive personality he associated with the mesomorph somatotype.

Type A behavior pattern (TABP)

A personality type marked by anger, hostility, and a sense of urgency; the TAPB has been implicated in cardiovascular disease. It is sometimes called coronary-prone personality.

Typical responses

A person’s fairly predictable behaviors and ways of reacting to the environment.


Sheldon’s term for the affectionate, sociable, relaxed, and jovial personality he associated with the endomorph somatotype.