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研究:性格特征是与生俱来的

来源:天星 更新日期:2009-04-24 点击:

Personality types are linked with structural differences in the brain - which could explain why one child grows up to be impulsive and outgoing while another becomes diligent and introspective.

Anatomical differences between the brains of 85 people have been measured and linked with the four main categories of personality types as defined by psychiatrists using a clinically recognised system of character evaluation.

The researchers said the brain differences are structural and can be measured as variations in the size of specific regions of the brain that appear to be linked with each of the four personality types.

Brain scans that measure differences in volume down to an accuracy of less than one cubic millimetre found, for instance, that people defined as novelty-seeking personalities had a structurally bigger area of the brain above the eye sockets, known as the inferior part of the frontal lobe.

People with smaller volumes of tissue in this region displayed higher levels of timidity, approval-seeking behaviours and a greater tendency to seek gratification from external sources such as food or drugs, said Professor Annalena Venneri of the University of Hull.

People with "harm-avoidance" personalities had significantly smaller volumes of tissue in brain regions called the orbito-frontal area and the orbito-frontal area region, compared with other personality types.

"Reward-dependence" personalities stood out for having smaller volumes of tissue in the fronto-striatal and limbic areas of the brain.

If the findings are confirmed by other scientists, they suggest that children are not only born with a given personality type, but they develop anatomically different brains as a result of being that sort of person. It raises the prospect of being able to test a young child's future personality by viewing the anatomy of their brain with a hospital scanner.

"This study shows that personality traits are something you are born with, but their full expression can be modulated during development with the right approach," said Professor Venneri, who carried out the study with colleagues from the University of Parma in Italy and Washington University in St Louis.

The four personality types were classified as "novelty seeking" - characterised by impulsive actions; "harm avoidance" - marked by pessimism and shyness; "reward dependence" - with an addictive personality; and "persistence" - who are people who tend to be industrious, hard-working and perfectionist.

"If you are looking at volume, you are quantifying the tissue that is there. What we found was not just speculative. There is quite a bit of difference between people with different personality traits," said Professor Venneri.

"The fact that traits are reflected in specific anatomical differences is useful to know, for instance when it comes to understanding a child's behaviour and choosing the right approach so that somebody who is, for example, particularly timid might be helped through education and development.

"There is no point shouting at a child who is very shy and telling them off, because it does not come naturally to them to put themselves forward. But actually knowing there is a biological basis for this helps educators or parents to use the right approach to help a child to compensate."

People who have a "reward dependence" personality could, for example, be helped at an early age because they are at risk of turning to drink, drugs or food if they do not get the family support and encouragement they need, Professor Venneri said.

"If you know it's not something you do but something you are, you can alter the environment to minimise the risk. Knowing that someone has such a predisposition could help them adopt preventive strategies and avoid situations where they might seek rewards which could be potentially harmful."

The study is to be published in the journal Brain Research Bulletin.

性格类型和大脑的结构不同有关系--这就可以解释为什么一个孩子会冲动而外向,另一个却会谨慎而内省。

科研人员测量了85个人大脑的不同并且和四种主要的性格类型相联系--性格类型是由心理医生根据临床上得到承认的性格评价区分系统来划分的。

研究人员说,脑的不同是结构上的而且可以由不同区域的大小来衡量--这些区域似乎和四种性格类型有关。

脑容量扫描精确到了一立方毫米,他们发现--比如,那些被认为有创新性的人在眼眶上面的脑部比较大--这个部位被称为额叶内部。

Hull大学的Annalena Venneri教授说,这一部位比较小的人比较怯懦,有比较高水平的认知感寻求行为并且从食物、药物上面寻求满足感的高倾向性。

和其它性格类型的人相比,那些具有“伤害回避”倾向的性格大脑的眶额区的体积要小很多。

“奖励依赖性”性格和其它性格不同的地方是,他们的额纹状体和边缘区的体积要比其它地方小。

如果这些发现能够被其它科学家证实,他们表明孩子出生时不仅仅具有不同的性格,还可能因为成为那种性格的人而具有不太那个解剖类型的人。这使得在医院里面用测量仪测定大脑的解剖学特征来确定幼儿未来的性格成为可能。

“这一研究表明,性格特征是与生俱来的,但是他们的完全发展可以在生长过程中用恰当的方式来调整的,”在意大利的Parma大学和St Louis的华盛顿大学和同事进行此项研究的Venneri教授说。

四种性格类型被分为“新奇寻求”--特征是冲动行为;“伤害回避”--标志是消极和害羞;“奖励依赖”则有成瘾性特征以及“坚韧”--他们通常都是那些有事业心,工作刻苦而追求完美的人。

“看着那些体积,我们是在给那些组织定量呢。我们发现的不仅仅是猜测。不同性格特征的人所具有的大脑解剖学特征是很不同的,”Venneri教授说。

“性格特征可以反映在解剖学的不同上是很有用的。例如当我们要理解一个孩子的行为并且采取正确措施来帮助他,像一个特别胆小的孩子就可以在教育中来纠正。”

“没有必要对着一个害羞的孩子大喊大叫的让他们不要这样子,因为他们不会想到要去积极主动点。但是理解他们的这些行为有其生物化学基础对那些教育者和父母采取正确的措施来补偿是有好处的。”

那些有着“奖励依赖”的人--例如在没有得到需要的家庭的支持和鼓励时可能会转向喝酒,吸毒或者食物--可以在小时候就被纠正,Venneri教授说。

“如果你能认识到那不是你做的,而是你就是那样子的,你可以改变环境来最小化上海。知道有人有这个倾向性可能会帮助人们采取正确的对策并且避免那些可能让他们寻求奖励的情形出现--那最后可能会有害的。”

这一研究将会发表在《脑研究通报杂志》上面。

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