Individual differences in personality and its association with brain activity

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Psychology of Individual Differences, 2011, pp. 35 - 60
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There have been numerous studies that have investigated the relationship between individual differences in personality and brain activity. Given personality is clearly related to central nervous system functioning, it is a reasonable assumption that activity of the brain should be related in some manner to personality traits. Therefore, a prominent area of investigation has been the study of the association of brain wave activity assessed by electroencephalography (EEG) and core personality traits such as extraversion and neuroticism. Results have found significant associations, for instance, between regional alpha wave reactivity (8-13 Hz) and the personality trait dimension extraversion-introversion. Dominant right frontal alpha wave activity has been found to be associated with the personality dimension neuroticism. Research has also suggested that theta (4-8 Hz) wave activity is linked with the brainstem and limbic systems, which are believed to play a crucial role in maintaining arousal, and interestingly, theta wave activity has been found to be associated with arousal based personality traits such as neuroticism. Research employing alternative measures of brain activity such as magnetic resonance imaging will also be discussed, and these studies have supported and expanded existing evidence on individual differences in brain reactivity associated with personality traits such as extraversion and neuroticism. This chapter will conclude by discussing findings in this area in light of current models of brain activity related to personality. Implications for improving our understanding of the neural basis of personality will be discussed. © 2012 by Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.
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