Personality from a cognitive-biological perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The term "personality" is used to describe a distinctive and relatively stable set of mental traits that aim to explain the organism's behavior. The concept of personality that emerged in human psychology has been also applied to the study of non-human organisms from birds to horses. In this paper, I critically review the concept of personality from an interdisciplinary perspective, and point to some ideas that may be used for developing a cognitive-biological theory of personality. Integrating theories and research findings from various fields such as cognitive ethnology, clinical psychology, and neuroscience, I argue that the common denominator of various personality theories are neural systems of threat/trust management and their emotional, cognitive, and behavioral dimensions. In this context, personality may be also conceived as a meta-heuristics both human and non-human organisms apply to model and predict the behavior of others. The paper concludes by suggesting a minimal computational model of personality that may guide future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)650-686
Number of pages37
JournalPhysics of Life Reviews
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Distrust
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Personality
  • Psychology
  • Threat
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Artificial Intelligence


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