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Caitlyn Shields
Mr. Ring
Psychology 2
22 September 2015
Personality Formation
Do you ever wonder why people act the way they do? Personality is partly inborn and
mediated by brain structures, hormones and neurotransmitters. It influences social behaviours
such as gambling, sexual behaviour, extreme sports, impulse control disorders and criminality
(Wilson). The brains structure has a lot of affect on peoples individual personality. The human

brain is split into two hemispheres known as the left and the right hemisphere. Each side is in
charge of controlling different functions they are assigned to balance and to ensure that the brain
has maximum efficiency. The left hemisphere controls the muscles on the right side of the body
and is in charge of language- the process of hearing as well as speaking- logic, mathematical
computations, and memory. Oppositely, the right hemisphere controls the muscles on the left side
of the body and is in charge of spatial abilities, face recognition, music processing, estimations,
comparisons, visual imagery comprehension, and interpreting context and tone. The two
hemispheres communicate through a band of millions of nerve fibers called the corpus callosum,
this allows the hemispheres to work together in order for humans to perform everyday functions.
Stephen Wilson, a professor at the University College London describes the hemispheres and the
importance of their communication when he says, Brain asymmetry is essential for proper brain
function, it allows two sides of the brain to become specialized, increasing its processing
capacity and avoiding situations of conflict where both sides of the brain try to take charge
(Melina).

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Each persons brain development is not the same because all functions of the brain do not
mature at the same rate and are different depending on each human. As a fetus grows, neurons
travel to locations within the brain where some survive and others are destroyed. Then, as the
fetus grows into a toddler, the auditory and visual skills improve. However, the brain
development is affected by inputs from the environment. Since each child grows up in their own
home and has separate lives, the development of the brain is unique to each child. As the child
continues to develop, fibers grow between neurons and myelin; this is essential to the
transmission of information throughout the brain. During adolescence, the frontal lobe changes
continuously at a very fast pace which allows the person to have better control of their reactions.
The frontal lobe also helps with working memory and executive functions which both improve
with age as the lobe continues to develop and change.
After various experiments on the human brain, scientists and psychologists have
developed a Theory of Cognitive Modes. Since each childs brain development is unique to its
surroundings, people rely heavily on different parts of the brain. Within the brain there are four
lobes- the parietal, frontal, occipital, and temporal lobes. The parietal and frontal lobes tend to
work together and perform similar functions as well as the occipital and temporal lobes.
Depending on which set of lobes each person relies on and how much they rely on them,
determines the mode that specific person uses. Scientists came up with four modes: Mover
Mode, Perciever Mode, Stimulator Mode, and Adaptor Mode.
A high reliance on all four lobes results in the Mover Mode; this is typically a person who
makes and acts out plans, registers consequences, and prefers to be in control of plans. A low
reliance on all four lobes is the Adaptor Mode which is someone who doesnt really initiate plans
or interpret experiences by is absorbed by the immediate events, they are responsive and actish-

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oriented. A low reliance on the occipital and temporal lobes but a high reliance on the frontal and
parietal lobes results in the Stimulator Mode which is a person who is creative and original,
sometimes cant catch on to when enough is enough, is disruptive and has difficulty adjusting
to their surroundings. The opposite with a high reliance on occipital and temporal lobes but a low
reliance on the frontal and parietal lobes is called the Perceiver Mode. This person tends to make
sense of things in depth, tries to understand difficult concepts, and typically doesnt try to initiate
complex plans. People can intermix between the modes depending on their situation but usually
each person has one default mode that they act like a majority of the time.
Another major contribution to a persons personality is the size of the parts of their brain.
The lobes and cortices can become different sizes based on humans brain development which is
often affected by their environment and experiences. Therefore, each persons brain grows and
develops differently and this can change their personality. Colin DeYoung, a professor at the
University of Miami, ran an experiment that concluded that there is five main personality traits:
conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, and openness/intellect.
Conscientiousness would be a person who enjoys planning. Extraversion is an outgoing person
who seeks reward and is motivated to reach that reward. A person considered neuroticism often
experiences negative emotions and has extreme sensitivity to threat and punishment. People with
the personality trait of agreeableness often relates to other peoples emotions, intentions and
mental states. Examples of what the scientists found during their experiment is that people with
a larger lateral prefrontal cortex are often in the conscientious category of personality traits.
People with a larger medial orbital frontal cortex tend to have the extraversion personality trait.
The only trait they did not find a direct correlation with was the openness/intellect personality.

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Brain development plays a big role in a persons personality type. Not only is personality
affected by surroundings and experiences, but also by an individuals brain maturity and growth
rates. This could make a case for both sides of the current Nature vs. Nurture debate in society.
Peoples brains, how theyre developed and how much a person relies on it, makes them the way
they are.

Works Cited

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DeYoung, Colin. "Brain Structure Corresponds to Personality." Association for Psychological


Science. APS, 22 June 2012. Web. 19 Sept. 2015.
Kosslyn, Stephen, and G. Wayne Miller. "How the Brain Creates Personality: A New Theory."
The Atlantic. The Atlantic Monthly Group, n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2015.
Melina, Remy. "What's the Difference between the Left and Right Brain?"Live Science. Purch,
12 Jan. 2011. Web. 17 Sept. 2015.
"Neuroscience For Kids." - Hemispheres. Eric H. Chudler, 2011. Web. 19 Sept. 2015.
Semrud-Clikeman, Margaret. "Research in Brain Function and Learning." American
Psychological Association. American Psychological Association, n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2015.
Wilson, Glenn D. "Personality and the Brain." Gresham College. N.p., Oct. 2012. Web. 22 Sept.
2015.