Brain Structures, Personalities Linked

MINNEAPOLIS, June 29 (UPI) — A U.S. researcher says personality differences may be linked to differences in sizes of different brain areas.

Colin DeYoung of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis found having a bigger lateral pre-frontal cortex — the part of the brain involved in planning and control — was associated with being conscientious. Being extroverted was linked to a larger reward area — the medial orbitofrontal cortex — just above and behind the eyes.

“Everybody, I think, has a common sense of what extroversion is — someone who is talkative, outgoing, brash,” DeYoung said in a statement. “They get more pleasure out of things like social interaction, amusement parks, or really just about anything, and they’re also more motivated to seek reward, which is part of why they’re more assertive.”

DeYoung and colleagues had 116 volunteers answer personality questionnaires and brain imaging was used to measure different parts of their brains.

The study, published in Psychological Science, found associations between larger brain areas and several personality traits.

“This starts to indicate that we can actually find the biological systems that are responsible for these patterns of complex behavior and experience that make people individuals,” DeYoung said in a statement.

However, this doesn’t mean that personality is fixed from birth. Experiences may change the brain as it develops and change personality, the researcher said

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