Associations between personality and whole‐brain functional connectivity at rest: Evidence across the adult lifespan

Simon, Sharon Sanz; Varangis Burns, Eleanna Martha; Stern, Yaakov

Introduction: Personality is associated with cognitive, emotional, and social functioning, and can play a role in age‐related cognitive decline and dementia risk; however, little is known about the brain dynamics underlying personality characteristics, and whether they are moderated by age.

Methods: We investigated the associations between personality and resting‐state functional MRI data from 365 individuals across the adult lifespan (20–80 years). Participants completed the 50‐item International Personality Item Pool and a resting‐state imaging protocol on a 3T MRI scanner. Within‐network connectivity values were computed based on predefined networks. Regression analyzes were conducted in order to investigate personality–connectivity associations, as well as moderation by age. All models controlled for potential confounders (such as age, sex, education, IQ, and the other personality traits).

Results: We found that openness was positively associated with connectivity in the default‐mode network, neuroticism was negatively associated with both the ventral and dorsal attention networks, and agreeableness was negatively associated with the dorsal attention network. In addition, age moderated the association between conscientiousness and the frontoparietal network, indicating that this association become stronger in older age.

Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate that personality is associated with brain connectivity, which may contribute to identifying personality profiles that play a role in protection against or risk for age‐related brain changes and dementia.


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Brain and Behavior

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May 4, 2021