Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Architecture of Personality
16 February 2012

Architecture of Personality

Are you neurotic, hardworking, outgoing or shy? Advanced imaging technology is getting closer to being able to identify elements of our personality. Functional magnetic resonance imaging, which is often used to analyse brain activity while a person does something like answer questions or look at pictures, has now been used to scan the brains of men doing nothing more than lying still. Their patterns of brain activity were then correlated with their personality type – determined by a multitude of probing questions. The colour-coded image shows sites of brain activity associated with each of five named aspects of personality. For example, extroverts (blue) had particularly high activity in the fusiform gyrus – a brain region involved with social attention and face recognition. The results suggest that even at rest our brains’ basic functional architectures differ depending on our characters.

Written by Ruth Williams

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