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Neural basis of personality
Transcript of Neural basis of personality
Social Anxiety Disorder
Link in the brain
Medial Orbitofrontal Cortex
Anterior cingulate cortex
Dopamine + opioid systems
Fear and avoid the scrutiny of others
Concern about saying or doing something that will result in embarrassment or humiliation
‘The tendency to experience the negative emotions and cognitions that accompagny experiences of threat and punishment, including anxiety, depression, anger, irritation, self-conciousness, rumination and vulnerability’
‘Neuroticism reflects a global dimension of negative emotionality that encompasses the tendencies to experience negative affect in the face of minor stressors, to be aroused quickly and for arousal to fall slowly following stimulation. It also reflects tendencies towards worrying and post-event processing, tendencies to appraise events as stressful and an inability to control urges. A core feature of neuroticism is a difficulty in emotion regulation'
Big five personality trait
Relatively stable over time
Hard to change with therapeutic interventions
Link between neuroticism and depression?
Common cause theory: common genetic and environmental determinants
Vulnerability model: neuroticism → psychological processes → depression
Anterior Cingulate Cortex
Larger in neurotic people
--> higher sensitivity to:
the possibility of error following punishment
the possibility of pain following punishment
Smaller in neurotic people
Related to poor emotion regulation
Smaller in neurotic people
A role in detection of uncertainty and goal conflict --> declares high sensitivity towards uncertainty in neurotic people
Linking the brain systems together?
inhibition of responses
orientation of attention to threat
enhancement of arousal
The link to depression
Emotion regulation ~ amygdala
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) - specific association
Abnormal connectivity OFC <--> Amygdala
Hyperreactivity in limbic brain regions
What is agreeableness?
One of the big 5 personality traits
Tendency toward altruism and cooperation as opposed to antisocial and exploitative behavior
non agreeable people
What is psychopathy?
Diminished empathy and remorse
Disinhibited, bold behaviour
Highly comorbid with antisocial personality disorder
The link between psychopathy and agreeableness
Agreeableness is a
Agreeableness and psychopathy in the brain
James Fallon's case
based on further neurological and behavioral research into psychopathy
engagement with aesthetic or sensory information
engagement with abstract or intellectual information
"tendency to process abstract and perceptual information flexibly and effectively, and includes traits such as imagination, intellectual engagement, and aesthetic interest."
Are you open/intellectual?
‘‘Intellect’’ (e.g., intellectuality and intelligence)
‘‘Openness’’ (e.g., imagination, unconventionality, interest in art)
either label would be appropriate (e.g., curiosity, creativity).
(DeYoung, 2010, pp. 1172).
(Barnhofer & Chittka, 2010, pp. 275).
Trait marked by pronounced engagement with the external world
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what is conscientiousness?
achievement - striving
in the brain
left middle frontal gyrus
plan and follow complex rules
maintaining information in working memory
execution of planned action
amygdala & nucleus accumbens
absence of control
lack of restraining impulses, aggression, depression.
Loss of inhibitions
Social inappropriate behavior
Executive dysfunction disruption in the ability to plan and order
Increase of selfishness
frontal mass decreases, conscientiousness decreases !
hormone and neurotransmiter
projections to brain structures
functioning of regions like the PFC,
of modulation by dopamine
of these regions by dopaminergic neurons
sensitivity and activity
of the dopaminergic system itself
dealing with novelty
analyzing and synthesizing abstract or complex relations
PFC = dopamine
strongest in the dorsolateral region
enhances dorsolateral PFC functions SPECIFICALLY
strongest in the dorsolateral PFC
enhance specifical functions
allow entrance of new information and/or improve processing
dealing with novelty
complex abstract relations
increased dopaminergic activation
increased cognitive flexibility
tests of cognitive ability and working memory
OPENNESS / INTELLECT
more linked to intelligence and working memory
abstract integration of multiple cognitive operations
drawing abstract analogies
monitoring goal - directed performance
detecting the likelihood of error during cognitive tasks
Selfishness, callousness, and interpersonal manipulation
Impulsity, instability and social deviance
Theory of mind
Social information reasoning
Superior temporal gyrus
Posterior cingulate cortex
to experience the negative emotions and cognitions that accompagny experiences of threat and punishment
, including anxiety, depression, anger, irritation, self-conciousness, rumination and vulnerability’
‘Neuroticism reflects a
global dimension of negative emotionality
that encompasses the
tendencies to experience negative affect
in the face of minor
and for arousal to fall slowly following stimulation. It also reflects tendencies towards
worrying and post-event processing
, tendencies to
appraise events as stressful
inability to control urges
. A core feature of neuroticism is a
difficulty in emotion regulation
neural correlates of the psychopathic core features of callousness and poor moral
(DeYoung, 2010, pp. 1172).
(Barnhofer & Chittka, 2010, pp. 275).
1. Stress dysregulates HPA-ax
2. Hippocampal volume reduces
3. Activity in prefrontal cortex reduces
4. Result: homeostasis within neurocircuit of depression disrupted
linked to 'theory of mind' and moral reasoning
associated with psychopathy
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Canadian journal of psychiatry, 53
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The research towards the neurobiology of personality is still in its infancy and our current understanding of neurobiology seems to be insufficient to develop a model of personality that is only derived from biological variables (Foster & Macqueen, 2008)
NATURE VS NURTURE
Do you think that neuroscience can say anything useful about the underlying brain mechanisms of personality? And about the relation between the brain and psychiatric disorders?
Do you think they should be held responsible for their actions?
“I’m obnoxiously competitive. I won’t let my grandchildren win games. I’m kind of an asshole, and I do jerky things that piss people off. I’m aggressive, but my aggression is sublimated. I’d rather beat someone in an argument than beat them up.”
There are some people who have had a brain damage and afterward experienced a drastic change in personality.
By looking inside the brain we can discover many things about people's personality.
How far do you think we should go? Is it ethic to classify a person according to what his/her brain structure shows?
Neuroscience in general is based on LOCALIZATIONISM - theory that different brain functions can be localized to different physical regions of the brain.
The other idea, that has only lately rised, is NEURPLASTICITY - brain's ability to change neural pathways and improve/replace some functions
How does our brain work? Are functions localized, or plastic and dynamic? If the brain really is plastic, is there any point in trying to find personality trait in one single structure?
What plays bigger role in the development of personality: brain (NATURE) or the environment (NURTURE)?
We've heard dozen of findings about the way in which the architecture of the brain predisposes personality.