A Psychobiological Model of Temperament and Character

C. Robert Cloninger, Dragan M. Svrakic, Thomas R. Przybeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3584 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this study, we describe a psychobiological model of the structure and development of personality that accounts for dimensions of both temperament and character. Previous research has confirmed four dimensions of temperament: novelty seeking, harm avoidance, reward dependence, and persistence, which are independently heritable, manifest early in life, and involve preconceptual biases in perceptual memory and habit formation. For the first time, we describe three dimensions of character that mature in adulthood and influence personal and social effectiveness by insight learning about self-concepts. Self-concepts vary according to the extent to which a person identifies the self as (1) an autonomous individual, (2) an integral part of humanity, and (3) an integral part of the universe as a whole. Each aspect of self-concept corresponds to one of three character dimensions called self-directedness, cooperativeness, and selftranscendence, respectively. We also describe the conceptual background and development of a self-report measure of these dimensions, the Temperament and Character Inventory. Data on 300 individuals from the general population support the reliability and structure of these seven personality dimensions. We discuss the implications for studies of information processing, inheritance, development, diagnosis, and treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)975-990
Number of pages16
JournalArchives of General Psychiatry
Volume50
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1993

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