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Personality and the Brain: Person-Centered Approaches

Chapter in book
Authors Danilo Garcia
Nigel Lester
Franco Lucchese
Kevin M. Cloninger
C. Robert Cloninger
Published in Personality and Brain Disorders: Associations and Interventions
Pages 3-24
ISBN 978-3-319-90065-0
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Cham, Switzerland
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 3-24
Language en
Keywords Brain Development, Character, Human Evolution, Personality, Person-Centered Care, Temperament, Temperament and Character Inventory.
Subject categories Psychology, Psychiatry


Human personality has been defined as the dynamic organization, within an individual, of psychobiological systems that modulate adaptation to a changing environment (Cloninger, Svrakic, & Przybeck, 1993). In this Chapter, we briefly outline the ancestral lineage of human beings as five major transitions and then describe how human personality has evolved through three major systems of learning and memory in a long series of steps through evolution. The first one is the procedural system, which regulates different emotional responses such as anger, fear, disgust, and ambition, that is, the temperament dimensions of personality. The second system, the propositional system, is present in primates and helps the individual to be self-directed and cooperative in a social environment. The third system, the episodic system, exists only among humans and stands for humans’ capacity for self-awareness, which allows introspection and recollection of autobiographical memories. The second and third systems are responsible for the presence the character dimensions of personality, which can be defined as individual differences in values, goals and self-conscious emotions (e.g., hope, love, and faith). Importantly, character regulates the expression of temperament predispositions, so character is the regulator of well-being regardless of underlying temperament. But the person needs to learn to know and understand her whole being (i.e., temperament and character) to integrate them in order to promote resilience and well-being. Thus, we also present the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) and also discuss how interactions between traits within the individual serve as a good description, measurement and base for dialogue in person-centered approaches.

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