Everyone can picture one of those phrenology heads with personality traits drawn into different sections of the cranium (you’ll find a bunch of them on this phrenology site). Was there anything to that? Well, not exactly. However, with the use of MRI scans researchers today may have located about where certain personality traits lie in your brain. Travel with me into a 3D brain and let’s find out where your personality may lie.
The Big Five Personality Traits
One of the most popular theories of personality is the so-called Big Five personality traits. Here is a list of those traits along with what we know as to where they may reside in your brain.
- Openness – dorsolateral PFC, anterior PFC, anterior parietal cortex (research was inconclusive on this personality factor)
- Conscientiousness – Lateral Profrontal Cortex
- Extraversion – Orbitofrontal Cortex, Nucleus Accumbens, Amygdala
- Agreeableness – superior temporal sulcus, posterior cingulate cortex
- Neuroticism – Medial prefrontal cortex, Amygdala, Hippocampus
- DeYoung, C. G., Hirsh, J. B., Shane, M. S., Papademetris, X., Rajeevan, N., & Gray, J. R. (2010). Testing predictions from personality neuroscience: Brain structure and the Big Five. Psychological Science, 21, 820–828.
- DeYoung, C.G., & Gray, J.R. (2009). Personality neuroscience: Explaining individual differences in affect, behavior, and cognition. In P.J. Corr & G. Matthews (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of personality psychology (pp. 323–346). New York: Cambridge University Press.
- Here’s the website of the lead researcher, Colin DeYoung
- Check out the wonderful 3D brain program called Brain Tutor by Brain Voyager
- Could brain size determine whether you are good at maintaining friendships?
- Here’s the concept map on Personality Neuroscience I used during this episode.
- A summary and brief interview with Dr. Deyoung can be found in this article, Shape of Brain Tied to Personality, Says Scientist.
Phrenology Desktop Wallpaper – A Pseudoscience involving feeling bumps on the head. Developed by German physician Franz Joseph Gall.
Publish Date: 08/26/2011 14:21
Co.DesignHow People Have Visualized The Mind Throughout History
Another section, “depictions of mental states,” gives us phrenology alongside Evward Munch. There's so much variety here, you start to wonder: What are all those slick computer-generated brain scans saying, anyway? They're biologically accurate, sure, …
Phrenology is the science which studies the relationships between a person’s character and the morphology of the skull. It is a very ancient object of study. The first philosopher to locate mental faculties in the head was in fact Aristoteles. Severa…