Memory can satisfy or fail us as some individuals may have an easier time remembering information than others. Psychologists have been attempting to evaluate and investigate, what could be having such an effect on our memories that some are able to recall things easier than others. One of the most theorized topics is the non-cognitive element: personality and how it can have a greater impact on memory. Leading psychologist to ask how our personality can influence memory instead of what affects memory. With that said, this paper will be discussing what memory is, personality is and its effect on the human memory.
Memory has been one of the important “core cognitive functions” and it also correlates with other cognitive ability such as the way people think and speak (“language”) (Herath, 2015). Knowing how important memory is to the human function, psychologists had been doing extreme researching in cognitive and non-cognitive elements, in which some of the research has emphasized the role of different types of personality in different types of memory (Herath, 2015). Memory is the human ability and process to encoding, maintaining and recalling the information from the past, present and to the future (Feldman, 2013, p.213). Among the research on memory, psychologist researchers discovered that humans have multiple stages of memory systems which are sensory, short-term, working memory, long-term memory” (Feldman, 2103, p.214).
Sensory memory is the memory that stores information for a moment only. Short-term memory stores information for short time but only if given meaning to it. The information held in short-term memory is average of 7, which is also known as “chunks” (list of information’s stored in short-term memory) and the information lasts for 15-20 seconds (Feldman, 2013, p. 214). However, the average human is only able to remember 7 ± 2, remembering only plus or minus seven also known as “chunks” (Feldman, 2013, p. 215). As our working memory is part of short-term memory, it is the storing process of rehearsing and manipulating the information that is encoded (Feldman, 2013, p. 215-216). The working memory involves a “central executive processor” which is necessary when making decision and reason (Feldman, 2013, p. 218). For the central executive to function, it hormones three discrete “storage-and-rehearsal systems”, visual store: for visuospatial information, verbal store: for speech, words ; numbers, and the episodic buffer: used to hold information about any episodes and events (Feldman, 2013, p. 218).
The working memory helps us to actively store the information and make it valuable for later uses through the three systems (Feldman, 2013, p.2018). The long-term memory is one of the most important stage as it holds information for indefinitely time (Feldman, 2013, p. 219) and make it easier to recall and recognize information later. Long-term memory has its own different elements: declarative and procedural memory. In which declarative memory is used for any “information” while the procedural memory is used for any skills and habits individuals encounter. However, declarative can be dissevered into two parts: semantic and episodic memory. Semantic memory is basically used for any general and basic knowledge and rules. Episodic memory is for events that happen at any time and place (Feldman, 2013, p. 219-220). Understanding memory and how it functions is helpful for psychologist to evaluate why and how the correlation with personality occurs.
Personality is a set of “distinctive characteristics” that people seem to manifest through patterned behaviors and “cognition like thinking and memory” in different situations (Feldman, 2013, p.438; Hearth, 2015). Personality is the type of a person is, which is determined by the way a person think, feel and behave. Personality comes with different “traits” of behaviors, which are characteristics that appear in patterned and distinct situations (Feldman, 2103, p. 449). Traits can be a person being friendly, optimistic, mean, ; etc. Although psychologist believes that everyone has each one of those traits, they have different “degree” level of each trait. Some may have a high degree of unfriendliness and rudeness in certain situations than others. As B.F. Skinner’s behaviorist theory, he believes that personality is a learned behaviors patterns, basically stating that we become what we learn and are “changeable anytime” (Herath, 2015).
According to Eysenck theory of personality, he believed that there were three basic elements that everyone falls into, which are “extraversion, neuroticism, and psychoticism”. Extraversion being the outgoing, sociable, high self-esteem person. Neuroticism is the level of the person’s “emotional stability” such as depression, anxious and low self-esteem. Lastly, psychoticism is the place where people’s degree of aggressiveness and impulsiveness” increases (Feldman, 2013, p. 450). In addition to Eysenck theory of personality, he claimed that the extraversion/introversion personality was correlated with “arousal” (energy and awareness level) and “activation”
(activation in task level). As the introverts are known to have more “cortical arousal levels” and extroverts low “cortical arousal level” (Schwartz, 1975). The support of arousal level difference in extroverts and introverts has validated that arousals not only have influences between those two personalities but also in the organization of their memory (Schwartz,1975). These personality elements are important in understanding personality because it aims to identify who a person is and their risk for any psychological personality disorders.
Since personality is the main subject for psychologist researchers, they’ve developed different types of a personality aptitude tests to measure a person’s personality. The very popular ones are the “introversion/extraversion”, Jungian Typology, MMPI, Projective personality tests, Rorschach test, TAT and the Big Five personality traits, these personality assessment tests evaluate these personality traits through multiple choice, ranking style, telling story or represent a figure and asked what those figures appear to them. (Herath, 2015; Feldman, 2013, p.464-467).
However, the Jungian Typology is to understand the two main personality types: extraversion and introversion. The Jungian typology is used for psychologists to determine mainly the extroversion and introversion personality as well as people’s “sensation, intuition, thinking, and feeling.” (“Does personality affect memory”). Psychologists believe that the two personality types are the focus of cognitive ability in individuals (“Does personality affect memory”). As extroverts seem very outgoing and energetic when around with people while the introverts get their energy from within and come out as shy when around with people (“Does personality affect memory”). This personality assessment test helps researchers and individuals to evaluate and to understand their strength and weakness when in different situations and decision-making time. The focus on those two personality types has helped researchers determine that the brain structures between extroversions and introversion are different, which leads to the theory of the different brain structure between the two personality types could have a major influence in their memory (Herath, 2015).
Other personality testing scales like the EPGR (Eysenck’s Personality Questionnaire-Revised) also was used by researcher, Heffernan, and Ling, to test the two personality abilities to influence on the short and long-term memory. The questionnaires used were to measure the short-term habitual prospective memory of remembering like remembering to take “medication daily” and long-term episodic memory of attempting to remember to make a doctor appointment (Herath, 2015). Additionally, they added the TRS (Techniques for Remembering Scale) in the experiment, they measured people with high level of extrovert and introverts and concluded that extroverts maintain to remember the tasked that was given to them because they were continuingly attending social events and gathering that was held during the experiment. Additionally, it was proven that extroverts have better prospective memory because of their ability to recording their area and people they are surrounded, which is an episodic memory. However, since the introverts are not quite comfortable when surrounded by other people, it affected their encoding and recalling process of the events and information given to them (Herath, 2015).
Moreover, on the influence of those main personalities on memory, another research study was done by Dolcos in which “questionnaires and verbal cues” of memories were used to assess personality and memory in both men and women. The researchers have found that extrovert men and women scored higher in recalling more of “positive” episodic buffer memory. And those “neuroticism level” remembered mostly the negative memories (Nauert, 2015). As the positive memories are stored and recalled by positive moods(traits) and the negative memories with negative moods, it affects their ability to recall those types of memories (Nauert,2015). Exhibiting that a person who enjoys being around people (extroverts) seem to be able to retrieve and recall the positive memories more, which leaves them with low risk for personality disorder (Nauert, 2015).
Although extroverts and introvert personality types seem to play an important role in memory, personality disorders can also influence how memory function. Researchers have found that people with PDs (personality disorders) tend to have problems with their cognitive elements such as memory. To prove the effect of PDs, research studies decided to examine the PDs and their relationship with memory. They measured people with PDs like “schizotypal” and “Axis I disorder” and see if there were some patterned difficulties happening in their objective and subjective memory. As they described subjective memory tend to be associated with one’s lack of “self- efficacy”, “mastery” and high level of “neuroticism”. And objective memory as more of neutral and fact-based memories (Hong et al., 2012)
Based on the experiment, researchers found that PDs are interrelated with both memories. By asking participants with PDs to name “three people” whom they can say they’ve known for a long time and then asked them to compare their memories with people of the same age as them (Hong et al., 2012). Afterward, they were asked to recall and recognize 20 words from the 40 words given immediately and 20 mints after. As those who scored high in recalling and recognizing the words, their memory functions better than those who scored low. However, those who scored low were in “broadline PD” and showed symptoms of “schizotypal or obsessive-compulsive”, which affected their recall and “verbal” memory (Hong et al., 2012).
After many experiments on personality and memory individually and jointly, researchers have found that memory can indeed be mortified by personality. As mentioned earlier, the two types of personality: extrovert and introvert and PDs like schizotypal and obsessive-compulsive disorders influenced how a person can recall and recognizes information. Developing the personality tests had a huge impact on finding evidence for the relationship between personality and memory (Herath, 2015). Although these aptitude tests main purpose was to measure a person’s psychological (mental and emotion) stableness, it still supported the hypothesis of many psychology researchers when they included memory questionnaires on the test. Mainly measuring the degree of a person’s personality then linking it with their memory’s ability also has contributed the to a result of being an extrovert seem to satisfy one’s memory than introvert and people with PDs seem to fail their memory functions.

Post Author: admin