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Hum Brain Mapp. 2016 Feb;37(2):773-9. doi: 10.1002/hbm.23065. Epub 2015 Nov 26.

Personality and complex brain networks: The role of openness to experience in default network efficiency.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA.
2
Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
3
Department of Psychology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria.
4
Department of Neurosurgery, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.
5
Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA.

Abstract

The brain's default network (DN) has been a topic of considerable empirical interest. In fMRI research, DN activity is associated with spontaneous and self-generated cognition, such as mind-wandering, episodic memory retrieval, future thinking, mental simulation, theory of mind reasoning, and creative cognition. Despite large literatures on developmental and disease-related influences on the DN, surprisingly little is known about the factors that impact normal variation in DN functioning. Using structural equation modeling and graph theoretical analysis of resting-state fMRI data, we provide evidence that Openness to Experience-a normally distributed personality trait reflecting a tendency to engage in imaginative, creative, and abstract cognitive processes-underlies efficiency of information processing within the DN. Across two studies, Openness predicted the global efficiency of a functional network comprised of DN nodes and corresponding edges. In Study 2, Openness remained a robust predictor-even after controlling for intelligence, age, gender, and other personality variables-explaining 18% of the variance in DN functioning. These findings point to a biological basis of Openness to Experience, and suggest that normally distributed personality traits affect the intrinsic architecture of large-scale brain systems. Hum Brain Mapp 37:773-779, 2016.

KEYWORDS:

default mode network; individual differences; network science; personality; structural equation modeling

PMID:
26610181
PMCID:
PMC4738373
DOI:
10.1002/hbm.23065
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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