New perspectives in temperament/personality research: The “Behavioral” model of the Warsaw group

  • Gordon L. Mangan
  • Timothy J. H. Paisey


This paper reviews the theory and research of the Warsaw school of differential psychophysiology, which has modified and extended the typologic model constructed by Teplov and Nebylitsyn. While Soviet theory still favors a relatively inflexible structure of nervous system properties as the biologic basis of individual differences in personality, Strelau and colleagues, in line with the action/activity model of Vygotsky and Tomaszewski, begin with the premise that for every individual there is a specific, genetically determined optimal level of arousal, a necessary background for fullest emotional and intellectual development. The person strives to create this optimal climate through an active process of stimulation control, achieved primarily through enhancement or dampening of reactivity—which describes innate responsivity in the reacting systems to both sensory and emotional stimuli—through various hormonal ‘tuning’ mechanisms and through “appropriate” activity, reflected in different cognitive styles and preference for certain work conditions. Such activities aim to ensure comfortable physical and psychologic environments, in which the individual can avoid conflict and stress. The system regulating and integrating such control mechanisms is the core of personality. Investigations of the Warsaw group on relationships between reactivity and different forms of stimulation seeking/control—risk-taking, work style preferences, cognitive style, defense mechanisms, for example—and between reactivity and tolerance of stress and conflict and their speculations about the neurophysiologic and endocrinologic mechanisms of stimulation control are described, as are a number of questionnaires developed by this group to measure reactivity, the temporal parameters of response, and stimulation-seeking in a variety of occupational and social contexts.


Cognitive Style Temperament Trait Work Style Temperamental Trait Transformation Ability 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ax, A. F.: The physiological differentiation between fear and anger in humans.Psychosomatic Medicine, 15, 433–442, 1953.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Barry, H. and Symmes, D.: Reinforcing effects of illumination change in different phases of the rat’s diurnal cycle.Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 56, 117–119, 1963.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berlyne, D. E.:Aesthetics and Psychobiology. New York: Appleton-Century Crofts, 1971.Google Scholar
  4. Berlyne, D. E. and Lewis, J. L.: Effect of heightened arousal on exploratory behaviour.Canadian Journal of Psychology, 17, 398–411, 1963.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bialowas, D.: Submission to group pressure and reactivity as an example of the effects of temperamental traits on social behaviour. Warsaw University: Unpublished M. A. Thesis, 1976.Google Scholar
  6. Cattell, R. B.:A Guide to Mental Testing. London: University of London Press, 1948.Google Scholar
  7. Dubos, R.:Man Adapting. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1965.Google Scholar
  8. Eliasz, A.: Temperament traits and reaction preferences depending on stimulation load.Polish Psychological Bulletin, 4, 103–114, 1973a.Google Scholar
  9. Eliasz, A.: Need for stimulation and need of achievement.Psychologia Wychowawcza, 16, 562–579, 1973b.Google Scholar
  10. Eliasz, A.:Temperament and Personality. Wroclaw: Ossolineum, 1974a.Google Scholar
  11. Eliasz, A.: The role of temperament traits in the formation of personality traits. In J. Strelau(Ed.):The Role of Temperament Traits in Action. Wroclaw: Ossolineum, 1974b, pp. 27–43.Google Scholar
  12. Eliasz, A.: Activity—reactive and operant—and choice of situations differing in stimulation load. In J. Strelau (Ed.):The Role of Temperament Traits in Action. Wroclaw: Ossolineum, 1974c, pp. 135–141.Google Scholar
  13. Eliasz, A.: Temporal stability of reactivity.Polish Psychological Bulletin, 10, 187–198, 1979.Google Scholar
  14. Eysenck, H. J.:The Biological Basis of Personality. Springfield, Ill.: Charles C Thomas, 1967.Google Scholar
  15. Fiske, D. W. and Maddi, S. R.: A conceptual framework. In D. W. Fiske and S. R. Maddi (Eds.):Functions of Varied Experience. Homewood: The Dorsey Press, 1967.Google Scholar
  16. Frankenhaeuser, M., Nordheden, B., Myrsten, A. L., and Post, B.: Psychophysiological reactions to under-stimulation and over-stimulation.Acta Psychologica (Amsterdam) 35, 298–308, 1971.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gawecka, H. and Poznaniak, W.: Reactivity and stimulation-seeking in psychopathic delinquents and neurotic patients.Polish Psychological Bulletin, 10, 175–185, 1979.Google Scholar
  18. Goodrick, C.: Light and dark-contingent bar pressing in the rat as a function of age and motivation.Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 73, 100–104, 1970.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gorynska, E. and Strelau, J.: Basic traits of the temporal characteristics of behaviour and their measurement by an inventory technique.Polish Psychological Bulletin, 10, 199–207, 1979.Google Scholar
  20. Gray, J. A.:The Psychology of Fear and Stress. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1971.Google Scholar
  21. Gray, J. A.: Learning theory, the conceptual nervous system and personality. In V. D. Nebylitsyn and J. A. Gray (Eds.):Biological Bases of Individual Behaviour. New York and London: Academic Press, 1972, pp. 372–399.Google Scholar
  22. Grzegolowska-Klarkowska, H.: Effect of reactivity and current state of activation on defence mechanism use.Polish Psychological Bulletin (In press).Google Scholar
  23. Hebb, D. O.: Drives and the CNS (conceptual nervous system).Psychological Review, 62, 243–254, 1955.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jones, B. and Mishkin, M.: Limbic lesions and the problem of stimulus-reinforcement associations.Experimental Neurology, 36, 362–377, 1972.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jastrzebska, A., Nowakowska, J., and Strelau, J.: Temperament traits, resistence to stress, and aetiopathogenesis of ulcers in the digestive tract. In J. Strelau (Ed.):The Role of Temperament Traits in Action. Wroclaw: Ossolineum, 1974, pp. 217–228.Google Scholar
  26. Klonowicz, T.: Effect of reactivity and type of instruction on performance of simple construction tasks. In J. Strelau (Ed.):The Role of Temperament Traits in Action. Wroclaw: Ossolineum, 1974a, pp. 143–152.Google Scholar
  27. Klonowicz, T.: Reactivity and fitness for the occupation of operator.Polish Psychological Bulletin, 5, 129–136, 1974b.Google Scholar
  28. Klonowicz, T.: Transformation ability, temperament traits and individual experience.Polish Psychological Bulletin, 10, 215–223, 1979.Google Scholar
  29. Klonowicz, T. and Czyzkowska, M.: Level of reactivity and level of performance: a contribution to the conception of individual style of action. Presented at the International Conference on Temperament and Personality; Warsaw, October, 1974.Google Scholar
  30. Koscielak, R.: The role of nervous system traits in inventive creativity.Polish Psychological Bulletin, 10, 225–232, 1979.Google Scholar
  31. Kozielecki, J.:Problems in the Psychology of Thinking. Warsaw: PWN, 1968.Google Scholar
  32. Kozlowski, C.: Demand for stimulation and probability preferences in gambling decisions.Polish Psychological Bulletin, 8, 67–73, 1977.Google Scholar
  33. Kretschmer, E.:Körperbau und Charakter. Berlin, 1921.Google Scholar
  34. Laurence, D. R.:Clinical Pharmacology. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingston, 1973.Google Scholar
  35. Levine, J. D., Gordon, N. C., and Fields, H. L.: The mechanism of placebo analgesia.Lancet, September, 654-657, 1978.Google Scholar
  36. Luria, A. R.:The Working Brain. England: Penguin Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  37. Maciejczyk, J.: Reactivity and decision making in a difficult situation in pilots. In J. Strelau (Ed.):The Role of Temperament Traits in Action. Wroclaw: Ossolineum, 1974.Google Scholar
  38. Mandler, G.:Mind and Emotion. New York: Wiley, 1975.Google Scholar
  39. Mangan, G. L.: A factorial study of speed, power and related temperament variables. Part II.British Journal of Educational Psychology, 29, 144–154, 1959.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mangan, G. L.: Studies of the relationship between neo-Pavlovian properties of higher nervous activity and Western personality dimensions: III. The relation of transformation mobility to thinking flexibility.Journal of Experimental Research in Personality, 2, 117–123, 1967.Google Scholar
  41. Mangan, G. L.: The relationship of strength-sensitivity of the visual system to extraversion. In V. D. Nebylitsyn and J. A. Gray (Eds.):Biological Bases of Individual Behaviour. London: Academic Press, 1972, pp. 254–261.Google Scholar
  42. Mangan, G. L.: The relationship of mobility of inhibition to rate of inhibitory growth, and measures of flexibility, extraversion and neuroticism.Journal of General Psychology, 99, 271–279, 1978.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Mangan, G. L., Quartermain, D., and Vaughan, G.: Relationship between Taylor MAS scores and group conformity.Perceptual and Motor Skills, 9, 207–209, 1959.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Mangan, G. L., Quartermain, D., and Vaughan, G.: Taylor MAS and group conformity pressure.Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 61, 1146–1147, 1960.Google Scholar
  45. McReynolds, P. and Bryan, J.: Tendency to obtain new percepts as a function of the level of unassimilated percepts.Perceptual and Motor Skills, 6, 183–186, 1956.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Matysiak, J.: Reactivity in rats measured by reaction time to near threshold stimuli and “open-field” behaviour.Polish Psychological Bulletin, 8, 95–98, 1977.Google Scholar
  47. Matysiak, J.: Effectiveness of avoidance learning in rats differing in reactivity.Przeglad Psychologiczny, 21, 307–313, 1978.Google Scholar
  48. Matysiak, J.: Self-exposure of sensory stimuli of different modalities in rats.Polish Psychological Bulletin, 10, 159–165, 1979a.Google Scholar
  49. Matysiak, J.: Activity motivated by the sensory drive.Polish Psychological Bulletin, 10, 209–214, 1979b.Google Scholar
  50. Merlin, V. S.: The role of temperament in the assessment of emotional reactions.Voprosy Psikhologii, 6, 1955.Google Scholar
  51. Murphy, G.: Experiments in overcoming selfdeception.Psychophysiology, 6, 790–799, 1970.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Nauta, W. J. H.: The problem of the frontal lobe: a reinterpretation.Journal of Psychiatric Research, 8, 167–187, 1971.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Nebylitsyn, V. D.:Fundamental Properties of the Human Nervous System. New York: Plenum Press, 1972.Google Scholar
  54. Nuttin, J.:Le structure de la personalité. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1965.Google Scholar
  55. O’Leary, K. S.: Preference for variability of stimuli as a function of experimentally induced anxiety.Psychological Reports, 16, 1202, 1965.Google Scholar
  56. Paisey, T. J. H. and Mangan, G. L.: The relationship of extraversion, neuroticism and sensation-seeking to questionnaire-derived measures of nervous system properties.The Pavlovian Journal of Biological Science, 15, 123–130, 1980.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. Quay, H. C.: Psychopathic personality as pathological stimulus seeking.American Journal of Psychiatry, 122, 180–183, 1965.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Reykowski, J.: Intrinsic motivation and intrinsic inhibition of aggressive behaviour. Presented at the conference on Psychological Issues in Changing Aggression, Warsaw, July, 1976.Google Scholar
  59. Reykowski, J.: Spontaneous aggression and spontaneous factors which inhibit it.Przeglad Psychologiczny, 20, 203–228, 1977.Google Scholar
  60. Sataloff, J., Vassallo, L., and Menduke, H.: Temporary and permanent hearing loss. In K. Kay, M. Hipskind, and M. Shafer (Eds.):Adverse Effects of Common Environmental Pollutants. New York: MSS Information Corp., 1972, pp. 210–213.Google Scholar
  61. Sataloff, J., Vassallo, L., Valotti, J. M., and Menduke, H.: Longterm study relating temporary and permanent hearing loss. In K. Kay, M. Hipskind, and M. Shafer (Eds.):Adverse Effects of Common Environmental Pollutants. New York: MSS Information Corp., 1972, pp. 206–209.Google Scholar
  62. Skrzpek, G. J.: Effect of perceptual isolation and arousal on anxiety, complexity preference and novelty preference in psychopathic and neurotic delinquents.Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 74, 321–329, 1969.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Snyder, S. H.: Opiate receptors and internal opiates.Scientific American, March. 44-56, 1977.Google Scholar
  64. Spearman, C.:The Abilities of Man. London: Macmillan, 1927.Google Scholar
  65. Sosnowski, T.: Reactivity, level of stimulation, and some features of verbal behaviour in small taskoriented groups.Polish Psychological Bulletin, 9, 129–137, 1978.Google Scholar
  66. Strelau, J.:Temperament and Type of Nervous System. Warsaw: PWN, 1969.Google Scholar
  67. Strelau, J.: Individuell work style in pupils and temperament traits.Kwartalnik Pedagogiczny,15, 1970.Google Scholar
  68. Strelau, J.: A diagnosis of temperament by nonexperimental techniques.Polish Psychological Bulletin, 3, 97–105, 1972.Google Scholar
  69. Strelau, J.: Temperament as an expression of energy level and temporal features of behaviour.Polish Psychological Bulletin, 5, 119–127, 1974a.Google Scholar
  70. Strelau, J.:Temperament and Type of Nervous System. Second Edition. Warsaw: Panstwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1974b.Google Scholar
  71. Strelau, J.: Reactivity and activity style in selected occupations.Polish Psychological Bulletin, 6, 199–206, 1975.Google Scholar
  72. Strelau, J.: Behavioural mobility versus flexibility and fluency of thinking: an empirical test of the relationship between temperament and abilities.Polish Psychological Bulletin, 8, 75–82, 1977.Google Scholar
  73. Strelau, J.:The Role of Temperament in Mental Development. Warsaw: WSiP, 1978.Google Scholar
  74. Strelau, J.:Regulatory Functions of Temperament. Wroclaw: Ossolineum (In press).Google Scholar
  75. Strelau, J., Klonowicz, T., and Eliasz, A.: Psychological mechanisms of temperament traits.Przeglad Psychologiczny, 15, 25–51, 1972.Google Scholar
  76. Strelau, J. and Krajewski, A.: Individual work style and strength of nervous system. In K. M. Gurevich (Ed.):Psychophysiological Issues in Vocational Training. Moscow: Sovietskaya Rossiya, 1974, pp. 176–186.Google Scholar
  77. Strzalkowska, G.: Relation between “real self” and “ideal self” and level of stimulation requirement. Warsaw University: Unpublished M.A. Thesis, 1977.Google Scholar
  78. Teplov, B. M.: New data on the study of man’s nervous system properties. In B. M. Teplov (Ed.):Typological Characteristics of Human Higher Nervous Activity.Volume 3. Moscow: Akad. Pedagog. Nauk RSFSR, 1963, pp. 3–46.Google Scholar
  79. Thomas A., Chess, S., and Birch, H. G.:Temperament and Behaviour Disorders in Children. London: University of London Press, 1968.Google Scholar
  80. Tomaszewski, T.:Introduction to Psychology. Warsaw: PWN, 1963.Google Scholar
  81. Tranel, N.: Effect of perceptual isolation in introverts and extraverts.Journal of Psychiatric Research, 1, 185–192, 1962.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Trzebinski, J.: Personal involvement, an authority’s approval, and originality of thinking. Institute of Psychology, University of Warsaw: Unpublished M.A. Thesis, 1973.Google Scholar
  83. Utkina, N. S.: Typological differences affecting school assessment of certain attentional phenomena. In:Typological Research on the Psychology of Personality and Work. Perm. UOOP and PGPI, 1964.Google Scholar
  84. Vaughan, G. and Mangan, G. L.: Conformity to group pressure in relation to the value of the task materialJournal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 66, 179–183, 1963.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Vernon, P. E.:The Structure of Human Abilities. London: Methuen, 1950.Google Scholar
  86. Zuckerman, M.: Dimensions of sensation-seeking.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 36, 45–52, 1971.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gordon L. Mangan
    • 1
  • Timothy J. H. Paisey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Experimental PsychologyUniversity of OxfordUSA

Personalised recommendations