Polar Pens- Polarizing with the PEN Method

As we complete a variety of ways to create interesting characters that can provide depth and conflict, we look at Hans Eysenck’s theory of three dimensions of personality. Eysenck took many of the multiple traits and boiled everything down into a model of three possible dimensions:

Individuals with high levels of extraversion engage more in social activities. They tend to be more talkative, outgoing and feel more at ease in groups. Extraverts enjoy being the focus of attention and often accumulate a larger social network of friends and associates.

Extraversion is measured on a continuum, ranging from high (extraverted) to low (introverted).

Introverts tend to be quieter, shying away from large social gatherings, and they may feel uncomfortable engaging with strangers. Instead, they maintain smaller groups of close friends and are more likely to enjoy contemplative exercises.

Neuroticism-Emotional Stability
Individuals scoring highly on neuroticism measures tend to experience higher levels of stress and anxiety. They worry about relatively insignificant matters, exaggerating their significance and feeling unable to cope with life stressors. A focus on negative aspects of a situation, rather than the positives, can lead to a person to adopt a disproportionately negative outlook. They may feel envious or jealous of others who they feel are in a more advantaged position.

Neuroticism is also characterised by perfectionism, and a tendency to feel dissatisfied, angry or frustrated with others when their desires are not fulfilled, or when their expectations are not met.

A person with a low neuroticism score will generally experience more emotional stability. They feel more able to cope with stressful events and set less stringent demands of themselves.

Individuals with a low level of neuroticism are more tolerant of the failings of others and remain calmer in demanding situations.

Individuals with higher psychoticism scores are more likely to engage in irresponsible or miscalculated behaviour. They may also contravene accepted social norms and be motivated by a need for immediate gratification, regardless of its consequences.

Individuals with high psychoticism scores tend to possess more advanced creative abilities (Eysenck and Furnham, 1993).

According to the PEN model, high levels of traits such as psychoticism reduce a person’s responsiveness to conditioning, meaning that they do not adopt the social norms that one may learn through reward and punishment. As a result, the theory suggests that individuals may be more prone to criminal behaviour as they seek to fulfil their own interests whilst violating the rules of behaviour accepted by others.

If you’ve got an audio drama script with three main characters, could they fit this model?

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