Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Intra‐cortical myelin mediates personality differences

Intra‐cortical myelin mediates personality differences. Nicola Toschi, Luca Passamonti. Journal of Personality, OCt 2018,

Objective: Differences in myelination in the cortical mantle are important neurobiological mediators of variability in cognitive, emotional, and behavioral functioning. Past studies have found that personality traits reflecting such variability are linked to neuroanatomical and functional changes in prefrontal and temporo‐parietal cortices. Whether these effects are partially mediated by the differences in intra‐cortical myelin remains to be established.

Method: To test this hypothesis, we employed vertex‐wise intra‐cortical myelin maps in n = 1,003 people from the Human Connectome Project. Multivariate regression analyses were used to test for the relationship between intra‐cortical myelin and each of the five‐factor model’s personality traits, while accounting for age, sex, intelligence quotient, total intracranial volume, and the remaining personality traits.

Results: Neuroticism negatively related to frontal‐pole myelin and positively to occipital cortex myelin. Extraversion positively related to superior parietal myelin. Openness negatively related to anterior cingulate myelin, while Agreeableness positively related to orbitofrontal myelin. Conscientiousness positively related to frontal‐pole myelin and negatively to myelin content in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex.

Conclusions: Intra‐cortical myelin levels in brain regions with prolonged myelination are positively associated with personality traits linked to favorable outcome measures. These findings improve our understanding of the neurobiological underpinnings of variability in common behavioral dispositions.