There are several personality tests which have dominance as trait or type as result. In addition to this question: How to measure dominance and submissiveness?

  1. How are dominant types constructed in tests?

  2. Does it consist of one factor or multiple factors?

  3. Is there any neurobiology research as to what is dominance or what parts of brain is in charge of it?

  • $\begingroup$ To clarify, is this question about (a) dominance as a personality trait (i.e., "tendency or desire to exert power over other people") or (b) dominant functions (i.e., a particular trait or type which is used in a more confident or certain way)? $\endgroup$ Jul 16 '13 at 3:29
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There is no way a “neurobiological measure” (be it functional imaging, some chemical marker or anything else) is more direct. In fact, inference in neuroscience is extremely complicated. Crucially, associating a particular structure or property of the brain with a trait requires some way to define, identify or measure the trait in the first place. So far from being more direct, it is one step more removed from directly observable behavior. You need a some working model at a functional of behavioral level before you can even contemplate neuroscience research on a topic. $\endgroup$
    – Gala
    Jul 16 '13 at 18:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You can already judge if a trait is “real” by looking a regularities in behavior across time and situations. If people tend to repeatedly behave in a particular way (even if only in answering self-report scales), then you have a “real” trait. Its exact meaning or pratical import can be debated but this is a “hard” fact, not some hypothesis waiting for confirmation. If there were no regularities in behavior to begin with, it would be difficult to see how you could do any neuroscience research on the phenomenon. $\endgroup$
    – Gala
    Jul 16 '13 at 18:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Furthermore, except if you believe in some kind of mind-body dualism, the mere observation of a behavior (and by extension the existence of any kind of behavioral measure including questionnaires) implies some differences in the brain. Being able to pinpoint what exactly these differences might be is interesting in itself but it would not “validate” the existence of a trait or prove the behavior to be “real”. Conversely, some vague correlation of the kind that can be obtained in imaging or lesion study are hardly definitive evidence for or against any particular theory of personality. $\endgroup$
    – Gala
    Jul 16 '13 at 18:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Now, I think I just misunderstood your question. Having a neurobiological basis and being hardwired/innate are two different things. Memory has a (pretty well understood) neurobiological basis but the things you can recall aren't encoded in your DNA, obviously. I still think that the talk of functional/behavioral constructs being “hypothetical”, while pretty common, is not helpful and I am not sure if I agree that a neurobiological (or, why not, genetic) measure would necessarily be “more direct”, though. $\endgroup$
    – Gala
    Jul 25 '13 at 15:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.