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Cereb Cortex. 2006 Dec;16(12):1809-19. Epub 2006 Jan 18.

Neuroanatomical correlates of extraversion and neuroticism.

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Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.


Introversion/extraversion and neuroticism are 2 important and frequently studied dimensions of human personality. These dimensions describe individual differences in emotional responding across a range of situations and may contribute to a predisposition for psychiatric disorders. Recent neuroimaging research has begun to provide evidence that neuroticism and introversion/extraversion have specific functional and structural neural correlates. Previous studies in healthy adults have reported an association between neuroticism, introversion/extraversion, and the activity of the prefrontal cortex and amygdala. Studies of individuals with psychopathological states have also indicated that anatomic variations in these brain areas may relate to extraversion and neuroticism. The purpose of the present study was to examine selected structural correlates of neuroticism and extraversion in healthy subjects (n = 28) using neuroanatomic measures of the cerebral cortex and amygdala. We observed that the thickness of specific prefrontal cortex regions correlates with measures of extraversion and neuroticism. In contrast, no such correlations were observed for the volume of the amygdala. The results suggest that specific aspects of regional prefrontal anatomy are associated with specific personality traits.

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