Brain biochemistry and personality: a magnetic resonance spectroscopy study. Academic Article uri icon


  • To investigate the biochemical correlates of normal personality we utilized proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy ((1)H-MRS). Our sample consisted of 60 subjects ranging in age from 18 to 32 (27 females). Personality was assessed with the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI). We measured brain biochemistry within the precuneus, the cingulate cortex, and underlying white matter. We hypothesized that brain biochemistry within these regions would predict individual differences across major domains of personality functioning. Biochemical models were fit for all personality domains including Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness. Our findings involved differing concentrations of Choline (Cho), Creatine (Cre), and N-acetylaspartate (NAA) in regions both within (i.e., posterior cingulate cortex) and white matter underlying (i.e., precuneus) the Default Mode Network (DMN). These results add to an emerging literature regarding personality neuroscience, and implicate biochemical integrity within the default mode network as constraining major personality domains within normal human subjects.

publication date

  • January 1, 2011