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Neurobiol Aging. 2011 Dec;32(12):2162-71. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2009.12.009. Epub 2009 Dec 24.

Exploring the relationship between personality and regional brain volume in healthy aging.

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Department of Psychology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA.


Aging is characterized by a reduction in regional brain volumes, particularly in prefrontal and medial temporal regions. Recent evidence suggests that personality may be related to neuroanatomical integrity. The present investigation explored whether the three targeted personality traits of neuroticism, conscientiousness, and extraversion moderated cross-sectional age-related decline in measures of neural integrity. Estimates of the personality traits and volumes of cerebral gray and white matter, prefrontal and medial temporal regions were obtained in a sample of 79 healthy adults aged 44-88. Higher neuroticism was associated with smaller regional volumes and greater decreases in volume with increasing age. Higher conscientiousness was related to larger regional volumes and less decline with advancing age. These results suggest that personality may not only relate to, but may also moderate age-related cross-sectional decline in prefrontal and medial temporal regions.

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