Eysenck and Freud personality and traits

According to Eysenck (1967) we are born with a unique temperament with a genetic basis, and personality can be measured by dimensions on a continuum. The dimensions labelled by Eysenck consist of, extraversion/introversion, neurotic/stable, and psychotic each dimension has specific traits or characteristic’s related to them.

Freud (1923) Suggested our personality is governed by our unconscious thoughts, Freud’s theory involves  what he termed the id, which is based on biological drive and desire for instant gratification which develops  up to the age of 2 or 3, then the ego is developed through external experiences, the ego distinguishes boundaries of rationality and is developed up to around 5 years of age, then modification of the ego to super ego , the super ego sculpted by experiences  develops a sense of morality. The theory is based on sexual drives, based on stages of development influencing a person’s response to stimulus represents aspects of the development of personality.

Eysenck (1967) suggested that people on the high end of the scale of extraversion are searching for stimulus due to lower levels of brain activity and the opposite is for people who are considered to be introverts.

Research by Green (1984) demonstrated how a group of introverts and extroverts participated in a mundane task, the extroverts had chosen a higher volume of music whilst participating in the task comparatively to the introverts, under their chosen music volume levels both groups had displayed task efficiency. Interestingly when the volume levels were swapped around amongst the two groups’ task efficiency had been less effective.

According to the following research Mitchell & Kumari (2016)Using MRI and DTI and assessing the evidence over the past 15 years , were able to establish  Eysenck’s  theory, examining  extraversion and introversion  had a correlation to the function of different brain regions Including cortical regions  involved in  emotion regulation including limbic regions. Suggesting neuroticism is particularly sensitive to negative emotional cues and extraversion is sensitive to positive emotional cues.

According to Eysenck (1986) he implies Freud’s theories can be classed as science and can be falsified, which a different view is than Popper (1986) who suggests Freud’s theories cannot be falsified therefore not considered scientific.

Lo, Hinds,Tung, Franz, Fan,Wang, and Chen (2017) identified genetic spectrum of correlations between certain genes and FFM personality traits.

Twin studies (Hur, 2007) demonstrates how identical  twins are more likely to  demonstrate  similar  personality traits, compared  to  fraternal twins, and biological siblings are more likely to have similar personality traits then adopted sibling’s, this is significant because it suggests that a biological foundation to personality.

According to Laurent (2015) it is Impossible to eliminate the genetic variable which could potentially correlate with Child development correlation with adult development. The empirical research around Freud’s development theory is limited subjective experience.

Revelle, 2016 suggested Eysenck’s has left a strong legacy and influence field of psychology for example the neuroticism and extraversion of the FFM

Empirical and theoretically Eysenck theories on personality are more plausible than Freud. The evidence around biology around personality is overwhelming




Eysenck, H. J. (1986). Failure of treatment–failure of theory? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 9, 236.

Eysenck, 1967 H.J. Eysenck The biological basis of personality Thomas, Springfield, IL (1967)


Eysenck H J. The effects of psychotherapy: an evaluation. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 16:319-24, 1952. [Inst. Psychiatry, Maudsley Hosp., Univ. London, London, England]

The Effects of Psychotherapy: An Evaluation H. J. Eysenck (1952) Institute of Psychiatry, Maudsley Hospital University of London First published in Journal of Consulting Psychology16, 319-324.

Freud, S. (1923). The ego and the id. SE, 19: 1-66.

Hur, Y. (2007). Evidence for Nonadditive Genetic Effects on Eysenck Personality Scales in South Korean Twins. Twin Research And Human Genetics, (2), 373.


Lo, M.-T., Hinds, D. A., Tung, J. Y., Franz, C., Fan, C.-C., Wang, Y., … Chen, C.-H. (2017). Genome-wide analyses for personality traits identify six genomic loci and show correlations with psychiatric disorders. Nature Genetics49(1), 152–156. http://doi.org/10.1038/ng.3736

Mitchell, R. L. C., & Kumari, V. (2016). Hans Eysenck’s interface between the brain and personality: Modern evidence on the cognitive neuroscience of personality. Personality and Individual Differences, 74-81. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2016.04.009

Popper, K. (1986). Predicting overt  behavior versus predicting hidden states. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 9, 254-255.

Plomin, R., DeFries, J. C., McClearn, G. E., & Rutter, M. (1997). Behavioral genetics (3rd. ed.). New York: Freeman.

Revelle, W. (2016). Hans Eysenck: Personality theorist. Personality & Individual Differences, 10332-39. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2016.04.007