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Q J Exp Psychol B. 2003 May;56(2):207-21.

NMDA receptor activity and the transmission of sensory input into motor output in introverts and extraverts.

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  • 1Georg Elias Müller Institute for Psychology, University of Göttingen, Gosslerstrasse 14, D-37073 Göttingen, Germany.


Recent research suggests that individual differences in brain dopamine functioning may be related to the personality dimension of extraversion. The major goal of the present study was to answer the question of whether a pharmacologically induced change in glutamatergic NMDA receptor activity would also differentially affect the transmission of sensory input into motor out-put in introverts and extraverts. Therefore, in a double-blind within-subjects design, either 30 mg of the NMDA receptor antagonist memantine or placebo were administered to 48 healthy male volunteers before performing a choice reaction-time task. In introverts, memantine caused a pronounced increase in lift-off time (i.e., the time required to lift the finger from a home button) compared to that in extraverts, whereas movement time (i.e., the time required to move the finger from the home button to a response button) was decreased in both groups. The pattern of results suggests that extraversion-related differential sensitivity to pharmacologically induced changes in NMDA receptor activity is limited to functions that involve an interaction between the glutamatergic and dopaminergic systems.

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