Personality and the Brain: Person-Centered Approaches

  • Danilo Garcia
  • Nigel Lester
  • Franco Lucchese
  • Kevin M. Cloninger
  • C. Robert Cloninger
Part of the Contemporary Clinical Neuroscience book series (CCNE)


Human personality has been defined as the dynamic organization, within an individual, of psychobiological systems that modulate adaptation to a changing environment (Cloninger, Svrakic, & Przybeck, 1993). In this chapter, we briefly outline the ancestral lineage of human beings as five major transitions and then describe how human personality has evolved through three major systems of learning and memory in a long series of steps through evolution. The first one is the procedural system, which regulates different emotional responses such as anger, fear, disgust, and ambition, that is, the temperament dimensions of personality. The second system, the propositional system, is present in primates and helps the individual to be self-directed and cooperative in a social environment. The third system, the episodic system, exists only among humans and stands for humans’ capacity for self-awareness, which allows introspection and recollection of autobiographical memories. The second and third systems are responsible for the presence of the character dimensions of personality, which can be defined as individual differences in values, goals, and self-conscious emotions (e.g., hope, love, and faith). Importantly, character regulates the expression of temperament predispositions, so character is the regulator of well-being regardless of underlying temperament. But the person needs to learn to know and understand her whole being (i.e., temperament and character) to integrate them in order to promote resilience and well-being. Thus, we also present the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) and also discuss how interactions between traits within the individual serve as a good description, measurement, and base for dialogue in person-centered approaches.


Brain development Character Human evolution Personality Person-centered care Temperament Temperament and Character inventory 


Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that there are no competing interests. The views and ideas expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency of the Swedish government.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danilo Garcia
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nigel Lester
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • Franco Lucchese
    • 5
  • Kevin M. Cloninger
    • 1
    • 3
  • C. Robert Cloninger
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Blekinge Center for Competence, Region BlekingeKarlskronaSweden
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  3. 3.Anthropedia FoundationSt. LouisUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryCenter for Well-Being, Washington University School of Medicine in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA
  5. 5.Department of Dynamic and Clinical PsychologyUniversity of Rome La SapienzaRomeItaly

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