Of the character is the nature of a person and determines how he acts, what he dreams of and what he is afraid of. Modern medicine localizes the character on the neural connections of the frontal brain region. Therefore, in the case of degenerative disintegration of these regions in the context of, for example, Alzheimer's disease, we also speak of ego disintegration.
Character is the nature of a person and determines how he acts, what he dreams of and what he is afraid of.
A person's character determines who they are and what makes them unique. Character influences how someone acts or what goals, dreams and fears they have. Modern medicine assumes that, on the one hand, the genetic makeup of the individual contributes to his or her character. On the other hand, a person's character is also formed, and for the most part, in socialization. Upbringing, for example, has a lasting impact on personality.
What exactly the character is from a medical point of view is still the subject of discussion today. Modern neurosciences, for example, consider the neural architecture of the individual to be the origin of his emotions and thus his personality. In particular, the neural pathways in the frontal lobe are sometimes referred to by neurology as the seat of character. The switching patterns in the brain are capable of learning and change, for example, after drastic experiences such as great suffering or great love. Neurosciences consider this change in the neural circuitry in the frontal lobe to be the cause of character changes after certain experiences.
A long-term study by the University of Otago recorded in 2000 that a person's character is largely determined by the age of three. From this point in life, people follow their character program. Long-term studies by the Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research came to a similar conclusion. The basic characteristics of the character should be established by the age of four at the latest.
For 20 years, the researchers observed children between the ages of four and twelve and examined the subjects regularly. In addition to cognitive skills, they controlled the Big Five, i.e. the five pillars of character. According to brain research, these pillars consist on the one hand of neuroticism, which is referred to as a tendency towards bad moods and self-doubt. On the other hand, extraversion, openness to new experiences and tolerance as well as conscientiousness are among the five pillars of character. At the beginning of the study, the children showed the same characteristics in this regard as at the end of the study. The basic character of a person seems to be shaped in the first four years of life and thus depends not only on genetic factors but also on parental home and upbringing.
The neurosciences localize the character on the specific circuits between the nerve cells of the frontal brain. This place in the brain is known as the seat of specifically human intelligence, reason and social behavior. It is precisely these references that make the frontal lobe the seat of character.
The rat frontal lobe is tiny compared to the human frontal lobe. The frontal cortex has a management function and a control function that helps people plan, implement and control their actions. In addition to receiving and processing sensory information, the frontal lobe is indispensable for cognitive thought processes, language processes and motor operations. In addition to controlling activities, movements and actions, consciousness is now also assumed to be in the frontal lobe. The same applies to emotional-affective behavioral aspects and factors influencing higher thought processes.
The human brain is capable of learning. The neural circuits in the brain change during learning processes. Powerful experiences are often associated with changes in thinking. This statement is relatively true. After drastic experiences, the wiring in the frontal lobe actually changes and thus changes in character.
A patient with amnesia has no memory. However, he does not lose his character through amnesia. He can clearly find out who he was and is through introspection. The personality is preserved as long as the frontal lobe is preserved with its specific interconnection.
Lesions in the frontal lobe can occur in patients with traumatic brain injuries, strokes, cerebral haemorrhage, tumor diseases, inflammatory diseases, degenerative diseases of the nervous system or seizure disorders. Similar lesions are found in people with schizophrenia and in people addicted to alcohol. The symptoms of such a lesion are, on the one hand, changes in character. On the other hand, they seem contradictory and often paradoxical.
Frontal brain damage does not have to be localized directly in the frontal brain, but can also correspond to damage to the fiber projection paths between the frontal regions and the non-frontal structures.
Frontal lobe lesions manifest either as personality changes or as cognitive changes. Often patients suffer from both manifestations at the same time. With the so-called frontal brain syndrome, all personality changes are summarized. Medicine speaks of this syndrome as the most severe neuropsychological personality disorder.
Changes in character are mainly associated with changes in social behavior. Often the patients lose the initiative, their spontaneity or their drive. Characteristic symptoms are indifference to lethargy. On the other hand, sudden hyperactivity, euphoria, or impulsivity can also speak for a frontal brain lesion. Patients' character is often described as being silly or childlike. Inappropriate social behavior and opposition to social norms occur. The patients seem tactless or aloof. Sometimes they lose social inhibitions, which can increase to pseudopsychopathic, sociopathic or pseudo-depressive manifestations.
The degenerative disease Alzheimer's is mentioned particularly frequently in connection with frontal lobes. The degenerative disintegration of the frontal brain regions is often referred to as a creeping disintegration of the personality in the context of this disease.