What is the role of brain structure in your personality?
Does brain structure and personality related to each other? In the past decades, neuroscience has been interested in this question. It was suspected that brain structures have been influencing personality. However, results from previous studies are not conclusive.
To test such assumption, Roberta Riccelli, Nicola Toschi, Salvatore Nigro, Antonio Terracciano and Luca Passamonti designed a study. Their study involved more than 500 healthy participants. MRI Scanning was done to examine their participants’ brain structure. The “Big Five” on the other hand was administered to determine participants’ personality.
Big Five is comprised of five personality factors such as;
Openness – involves being widely interested in new information, imaginative and insightful.
Conscientiousness – includes traits such as being organized, and goal oriented.
Extraversion – a trait that involves being sociable, talkative and assertive.
Agreeableness – a trait that involves being kind and affectionate.
Neuroticism – a trait that includes being moody and anxious.
Personality and Brain Structure
The result suggests that personality factors were associated with the brain’s structure. Generally, the association was noted between personality factors and thickness of the cortical regions of the brain.
In addition, different personality factors were found to have a significant association with different areas of the cortex.
“They discovered all the extroverted participants had significantly larger medial orbitofrontal cortex, located on the frontal lobe above and behind the eyes. The conscientious ones had a bigger lateral prefrontal cortex; this part of our brain gets involved when we set a goal for ourselves or obey rules. The brains of the neurotics in the group showed smaller volumes in dorsomedial prefrontal cortex among other characteristics. Overall, the brain regions impacted are those responsible for negative emotions in the neurotics.”
What do these studies suggest? The most important implication of the previous studies is that our personality is somewhat related to the structure of our brain.
If so, then our personality- the way we interact the world around us may be predetermined. It helps us understand our own behavioral tendencies. The more important question here though is whether or not we can somehow make a change in our brain by changing our behavior.
If it’s possible to impact change in our brain from outside, how long will it take?
What do you think? Feel free to leave your comment below.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.