Cybernetics & the Big Five Personality Traits

Categories: Event at ORI

Type: Event at ORI

Date Published: 09/22/2014

ABOUT THIS TALK: The Big Five emerged empirically as a descriptive model of personality structure. To increase scientific understanding of the Big Five now requires moving beyond description to the development of theories that explain the sources of these five personality dimensions. Cybernetics, the study of goal-directed, adaptive systems, is a promising framework for an integrative theory of personality. Cybernetic Big Five Theory attempts to provide a comprehensive, synthetic, and mechanistic explanatory model. Constructs that describe psychological individual differences are divided into personality traits, reflecting variation in the parameters of evolved cybernetic mechanisms, and characteristic adaptations, representing goals, interpretations, and strategies defined in relation to an individual’s particular life circumstances. Based on research in psychology and neuroscience, the theory identifies mechanisms in which variation is responsible for traits in the top three levels of a hierarchical taxonomy based on the Big Five and describes the causal dynamics between traits and characteristic adaptations. Dr. DeYoung's presentation is September 24, at 2:30 p.m. in the Wolf Conference Room at ORI.

Colin DeYoung, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Psychology in the area of personality, individual differences, and behavioral genetics at the University of Minnesota. His research focuses on the structure and sources of psychological traits, using neuroscience methods to investigate their biological substrates. His major research topics include (1) development of a theory of general personality structure and its sources in psychological and brain function; (2) cognitive abilities, such as intelligence, working memory, decision making, and creativity; and (3) externalizing behavior problems, including impulsivity, aggression, antisocial behavior, and drug use. He received his A.B. from Harvard University in 1998, completed his doctorate at the University of Toronto in 2005, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University before moving to the University of Minnesota in 2008. In 2007, he won the J.S. Tanaka Dissertation Award for methodological and substantive contributions to the field of personality psychology, from the Association for Research in Personality. In 2012, he won the SAGE Young Scholar Award from the Foundation for Personality and Social Psychology. His research in personality neuroscience has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.