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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2011 Oct;35(9):1946-58. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2011.04.004. Epub 2011 Apr 15.

The brain's emotional foundations of human personality and the Affective Neuroscience Personality Scales.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC 28223-0001, USA.


Six of the primary-process subcortical brain emotion systems - SEEKING, RAGE, FEAR, CARE, GRIEF and PLAY - are presented as foundational for human personality development, and hence as a potentially novel template for personality assessment as in the Affective Neurosciences Personality Scales (ANPS), described here. The ANPS was conceptualized as a potential clinical research tool, which would help experimentalists and clinicians situate subjects and clients in primary-process affective space. These emotion systems are reviewed in the context of a multi-tiered framing of consciousness spanning from primary affect, which encodes biological valences, to higher level tertiary (thought mediated) processing. Supporting neuroscience research is presented along with comparisons to Cloninger's Temperament and Character Inventory and the Five Factor Model (FFM). Suggestions are made for grounding the internal structure of the FFM on the primal emotional systems recognized in affective neuroscience, which may promote substantive dialog between human and animal research traditions. Personality is viewed in the context of Darwinian "continuity" with the inherited subcortical brain emotion systems being foundational, providing major forces for personality development in both humans and animals, and providing an affective infrastructure for an expanded five factor descriptive model applying to normal and clinical human populations as well as mammals generally. Links with ontogenetic and epigenetic models of personality development are also presented. Potential novel clinical applications of the CARE maternal-nurturance system and the PLAY system are also discussed.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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