Neuroticism and extraversion are associated with amygdala resting-state functional connectivity

M. Aghajani, I.M. Veer, M.J. van Tol, A. Aleman, M.A. van Buchem, D.J. Veltman, S.A.R.B. Rombouts, N.J. van der Wee

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The personality traits neuroticism and extraversion are differentially related to socioemotional functioning and susceptibility to affective disorders. However, the neurobiology underlying this differential relationship is still poorly understood. This discrepancy could perhaps best be studied by adopting a brain connectivity approach. Whereas the amygdala has repeatedly been linked to neuroticism and extraversion, no study has yet focused on the intrinsic functional architecture of amygdala-centered networks in relation to both traits. To this end, seed-based correlation analysis was employed to reveal amygdala resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) and its associations with neuroticism and extraversion in 50 healthy participants. Higher neuroticism scores were associated with increased amygdala RSFC with the precuneus, and decreased amygdala RSFC with the temporal poles, insula, and superior temporal gyrus (p < .05, cluster corrected). Conversely, higher extraversion scores were associated with increased amygdala RSFC with the putamen, temporal pole, insula, and several regions of the occipital cortex (p < .05, cluster corrected). The shifts in amygdala RSFC associated with neuroticism may relate to the less-adaptive perception and processing of self-relevant and socioemotional information that is frequently seen in neurotic individuals, whereas the amygdala RSFC pattern associated with extraversion may relate to the heightened reward sensitivity and enhanced socioemotional functioning in extraverts. We hypothesize that the variability in amygdala RSFC observed in the present study could potentially link neuroticism and extraversion to the neurobiology underlying increased susceptibility or resilience to affective disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)836-848
Number of pages13
JournalCognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014

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