Sunday, June 27, 2010

Extraversion and the Brain

Colin DeYoung and colleagues at the University of Minnesota completed brain-imaging studies on 116 volunteers. They found that the medial orbitofrontal cortex – a part of the brain involved with considering rewards that is just above and behind the eyes – was significantly larger in study subjects who exhibited a lot of extraversion. The study also was able to correlate larger brain regions for a number of other traits: conscientiousness, which is associated with planning; neuroticism, a tendency to experience negative emotions that is associated with sensitivity to threat and punishment; and agreeableness, which relates to parts of the brain that allow us to understand each other's emotions, intentions, and mental states. Only openness/intellect didn't associate clearly with any of the predicted brain structures.

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