Brain Shape Linked to Personality, Study Claims

By Rebecca Lewis on January 30, 2017

Did you know that the shape of your brain does have something to say with your personality? Yes, you read that right. Not only does it influence your personality, it also influences your risk of developing a mental illness.

The research published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience found that neurotic people have a thinner cortex than those who are more open-minded.

For the study, a group of international investigators looked at the association between the brain shape and the “big five” personality traits: neuroticism, agreeableness, extraversion, conscientiousness and openness to experience. They looked at the brain scans of 507 young healthy volunteers, focusing on the cortex - the outermost layer of the brain which is composed of the grey matter. They looked at differences between cortical thickness, surface area and number of folds among the brains of the participants.

The researchers found a strong link between these three areas and the personality of the participants.

“This is a clear pattern with thickness going in the opposite direction than area and folding, as a function of different personality traits,” notes Luca Passamonti, a Cambridge neuroscientist and lead author of the study.

Major variations were seen between neurotic and open-minded people. Researchers found that neurotic people had a thicker cortex, with reduced surface area and folding. On the other side of the spectrum, those high in openness to experience had a thinner cortex with increased surface area and folding. Folding is the evolutionary solution to fitting an increasingly large brain into a small skull, the researchers explain.

Neuroticism has been linked to mental health illnesses like anxiety and depression, while openness to experience is clearly linked with creativity, intellectual curiosity and well-being.

Source of this article:

Your Personality Is Linked To The Actual Shape Of Your Brain

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