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The Bi modal Personality: A Socio-sexual model of Human Behavior
Home Social Issues Sexuality
By: Robert Depaolo Email Article
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A (Psychic) Theory of Everything?

Ever since Einstein put forth his special and general theories of relativity, theoretical physicists have argued about what a unified field theory would look like, i.e. one describing a common source for the electromagnetic, weak, strong and gravitational forces and whether such a mechanism exists. Whether it be Neils Bohr challenging Einstein on the orderliness vs uncertain nature of the cosmos, Richard Feynman depicting the universe as having no more of a cause-effect history than a fluctuating random particle, the central question has been the same: which model/argument has enough teeth to resolve all issues related to the functions of the large and subatomic aspects of the universe?

A similar question could be asked regarding this bimodal socio-sexual theory, to wit: does it explain a significantly wide range of human behaviors and motives?

In addressing that question, obviously one must wax subjective, since there seems to be a dearth of research on this topic. Yet one can begin on fairly solid anecdotal ground by pointing out that almost every human motive has either a sexual or social source. From the moment of early human art, depictions of large breasted females and otherwise voluptuous characterizations were prevalent. The influence of sexual themes on language, morality, literature, art, filmmaking and music remains pre-eminent in human affairs.

So does social concern. Modern technology has shown us that our need to know about what every person does, what they achieve, what they say, how they act, how they sin and how sincerely they apologize has turned social media into a trillion dollar enterprise. Clearly Homo sapiens is by nature a bit snoopy, gossipy and competitive - traits that are thankfully (occasionally) balanced by altruistic concerns.

If sex and social interest are in themselves powerful drives, one could argue that the unification of those drives into a psychological mosaic would be powerful enough to be at the root of other motives. That is precisely the argument here.

The Particulars...

Freud's theory of the personality was by far the broadest and possibly the most ingenious ever devised; not just because of its clinical, physical and biological breadth but also because Freud was bold enough to apply his theory to a wide variety of behavior patterns - even some of the most mundane. He discussed history, dreams, humor, smoking (his own personal vice), art, politics, child development, as well as psychopathology through the prism of psychoanalysis.

While it is difficult to aspire to that level of intellectual prowess, it might be worthwhile to apply this socio-sexual model to various aspects of human behavior to see if a theoretical unification is possible.


The drive to create has many possible antecedents. For example, the curiosity drive forces us to seek new stimuli. Humans not only have a tendency to invent new and useful or entertaining concepts and tools but often invent new fears and worries because we need to not only adapt to our environment but also to anticipate its perks and dangers. (One cannot come up with solutions unless there are problems to solve in the first place and creativity initially requires an irritating vacuum). Yet art is also a social phenomenon. Painting, music, sculpting, literature, architectural design - all pass through the filter of social approval. While not experimentally validated, but demonstrable, artists usually have no dearth of mating opportunities. That does not mean artists employ their skills merely to attract sexual partners but the effect is the same. The fact that their social rank (through reputation, notoriety and financial success) is enhanced by artistic endeavors offers further support of the inextricable link between status and the libido.

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Robert DePaolo. M.S. Clinical Psychology, retired practitioner in clinical, education and neurobehavioral fields. Author of four books and many articles on psychology, science, politics, religion and music, former professor of psychology NH University System

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