A Critique of Eysenck's Personality Theory and Meta-Theory
Psychological Explorations, Vol 1, No. 1, pp. 30-58, 1995
29 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2013
Date Written: March 30, 1995
In his hierarchical model of personality, Eysenck tried to reduce psychological concepts and generalizations to neurophysiological ones. This indicates that people’s psychological features are, mechanically, explainable in terms of their neurophysiological characteristics. It is argued that, in his factor and explanatory style, Eysenck committed assumptions which derived from his deterministic view. It is argued, further, that these theoretical commitments, namely atomism, static view, and reductionism are not significant in personality psychology. Furthermore, Eysenck’s reductive manner led to his levels of explanations to be incoherent. It is explained that this incoherence is due to logical gaps between a common sense psychology and a neurophysiological orientation. This article concludes that, in order to be a paradigm for personality psychology, Eysenck’s theory needs to face and overcome these theoretical problems.
Keywords: mechanical explanation, neurophysiological orientation, personality theory, meta-theory
JEL Classification: Z00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation