Naughty Or Nice Quiz – Find Out Now

<span class="author-by">by</span> Samantha <span class="author-surname">Stratton</span>

by Samantha Stratton

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Our personality is shaped by how our brain functions, but the shape of our brain can also provide surprising clues about how we behave – and our risk of developing mental health disorders, according to a study published today.

Psychologists divide human personality into five categories: neuroticism (how moody a person is), extraversion (how enthusiastic a person is), openness (how open-minded a person is), agreeableness (a measure of altruism), and conscientiousness (a measure of self-control).

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In a study published today in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, an international team of researchers from the United Kingdom, the United States, and Italy examined a brain imaging dataset from over 500 people made public by the Human Connectome Project, a major US initiative funded by the National Institutes of Health. The researchers were particularly interested in differences in brain cortical anatomy (the structure of the brain’s outer layer) as indexed by three measures – the thickness, area, and amount of folding in the cortex – and how these measures related to the Big Five personality traits. Also, you must try to play this Naughty Or Nice Quiz.

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“Evolution has shaped our brain anatomy in a way that maximizes its area and folding at the expense of reduced cortex thickness,” explains Dr. Luca Passamonti of the University of Cambridge’s Department of Clinical Neurosciences. “It’s like stretching and folding a rubber sheet – it increases the surface area while also making the sheet thinner.” This is known as the “cortical stretching hypothesis.”

“Cortical stretching is a key evolutionary mechanism that allowed human brains to expand rapidly while still fitting into our skulls, which grew at a slower rate than the brain,” says Professor Antonio Terracciano of Florida State University’s Department of Geriatrics. “Interestingly, the thickness of the cortex tends to decrease while the area and folding increase as we develop and grow in the womb, childhood, adolescence, and into adulthood.”

Furthermore, as we get older, our neuroticism decreases – we become better at dealing with emotions. Simultaneously, conscientiousness and agreeableness increase – we become more responsible and less antagonistic.

The researchers discovered that high levels of neuroticism, which may predispose people to neuropsychiatric disorders, were associated with increased thickness, reduced area, and folding in some regions of the cortex, including the prefrontal-temporal cortices at the front of the brain.

Openness, a personality trait associated with curiosity, creativity, and a preference for variety and novelty, on the other hand, was associated with the opposite pattern, decreased thickness and an increase in area and folding in some prefrontal cortices.

“Our findings support the idea that personality is, to some extent, associated with brain maturation, a developmental process that is heavily influenced by genetic factors,” says Dr. Roberta Riccelli of Italy.

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“Of course, our experiences and environment shape us constantly,” says Professor Nicola Toschi of the University ‘Tor Vergata’ in Rome. “However, the fact that we see clear differences in brain structure that are linked with differences in personality traits suggests that there will almost certainly be an element of genetics involved.” “This is also consistent with the idea that differences in personality traits can be detected early in development, such as in toddlers or infants.”

The volunteers whose brains were imaged as part of the Human Connectome Project were all healthy people aged 22 to 36 years old with no history of neuropsychiatric or other major medical problems. The relationship between differences in brain structure and personality traits in these people, on the other hand, suggests that the differences may be even more pronounced in people who are more likely to suffer from neuropsychiatric illnesses.

“Linking how brain structure is related to basic personality traits is an important step toward improving our understanding of the link between brain morphology and specific mood, cognitive, or behavioral disorders,” Dr. Passamonti adds. “We also need to understand the relationship between brain structure and function in healthy people in order to figure out what is different in people with neuropsychiatric disorders.”

For more personality and trivia quizzes check this: Lisa Or Lena Quiz

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