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Functional / Structural Domains


Personality Expression: The Eight Functional/Structural Domains

Beyond these basic motivating aims, the evolutionary theory specifies eight domains, four functional and four structural, representing the expression of personality in facets aligned with traditional psychological schools of thought. These also are generative of the Grossman Facet Scales.

Functional Domains: These domains, according to Millon (2011), are expressive processes that occur as a coping transaction between the individual and their environment. They are generally observable as acts designed to regulate inner and outer life. They are as follows:

Expressive Emotion: Formerly known as “Expressive Acts,” these are the outward behaviors arising from an affective state.

Interpersonal Conduct: The relational life and interactive style of the individual. This and the aforementioned expressive emotion comprise the behavioral aspect of personality.

Cognitive Style: The quality and content of attention and focus characterized by the person, as well as his/her method of organizing and synthesizing information from the environment. This, along with self-image, comprise a person’s phenomenology.

Intrapsychic Dynamics: Formerly known as “Regulatory Mechanisms,” this is the individual’s internal processes indirectly observable as acts of conflict resolution, needs gratification, and self-protection. These are largely analogous to “defense mechanisms.”

Structural Domains: Millon (2011) describes these domains as deeper, more “set” templates embedded within the personality and providing a “platform” for the functional domains. These are not as observable; therefore, they are mostly accessible to others based on inference and the person’s self-report. They are as follows:

Self-Image: Sameness or difference of an individual as compared to others, and the person’s reflection of sense of self-as-object.

Intrapsychic Content: Formerly known as “Object Representations,” This is the person’s general expectations of others, as imprinted from early experience.

Intrapsychic Architecture: Formerly known as “Morphologic Organization,” this is the organizing structures of the psyche. This inner architecture gives insight to the strength and cohesion of a personality. This, together with content and dynamics, represent intrapsychic aspects of the personality.

Mood/Temperament: This domain ties the body’s physical substrates to the workings of the psyche. This includes neuropsychological functioning, general energy and affect characteristics, and physical health effects on mental functioning. This domain, alone, represents the biophysical aspects of personality.