In detail

The imprint that personality leaves in our brain

The imprint that personality leaves in our brain

Human personality, understood as the habitual behavior of a person with whom it operates in the environment, is present not only in our daily interactions, but also in how we develop cognitive processes when solving problems. Its influence can become even more important than the intelligence of a person when it comes to demonstrating effectiveness in certain tasks. At least that has shown the results of several studies that we tell you below.


  • 1 Observing the personality through the brain
  • 2 Searching for a signal
  • 3 The influence of personality on cognitive abilities
  • 4 The influence of maturity

Observing the personality through the brain

The behavior patterns that constitute the personality are usually very consistent and help us predict the responses to different situations that each person It can get to emit. Its measurement has always been based on questionnaires or tests with high reliability, however, it has always been difficult a more tangible brain observation that identifies the differences in a visually palpable way with which to identify these personality characteristics.

Looking for a signal

According to a study published in PLos One, a magazine specializing in research articles, personality characteristics do maintain cerebrally observable differences.

After identifying the personality type of each study participant, through different tests, the researchers realized that the brain activity of each participant, who was at rest, was different from that of people with other traits of different personality.

In the study carried out by Michael Milham, psychiatrist of Child Mind Institute of New York, the brain activities of 39 healthy participants who were at rest were visualized through the Functional Magnetic Resonance technique. This technique manages to show images of the brain regions that are active by observing their blood flow.

In this way, the researchers concentrated on observing those regions that tended to be activated at the same time, as well as to coordinate in synchrony very closely or simply in a somewhat similar way.

The scientists observed these patterns of activation of the different brain areas by correlating them with the key personality traits: neuroticism, extroversion, openness to experience, kindness and responsibility.

In this way, found correlations between brain activity and personality traits. For example, a high trait of neuroticism shows a greater activity in brain regions associated with the behavior of fear and self-evaluation. Although Milham himself affirms that it is still early to affirm that the general personality of an individual shows a specific neuronal pattern, this study is a beginning to find the key differences in this field.

The influence of personality on cognitive abilities

The researchers of Biomedical Technology Center of the Polytechnic University of Madrid, from the hand of the Yuri Gagarin State Technical UniversityIn Russia, they have gone further in their research looking for a link between personality traits, cognitive abilities and brain activity measured through the electroencephalogram (EEG) technique, a technique that measures the activity of brain waves .

The connection between intelligence and personality traits has been for decades a matter of interest for students of personality and behavior. Thus, these researchers decided to investigate in this regard, analyzing the EEG activity of the brains of different people who performed tasks to assess their cognitive abilities.

The influence of maturity

According to Alexander Pisarchik, co-author of the study, “According to the most outstanding activities shared by the participants in the EEG results, we divided the subjects into three groups. For each of the groups, we applied the questionnaire of the Sixteen Personality Factors (test that is usually used to identify the different traits of people). We found that each group obtained a different result in personality scales compared to the other groups. ”

The results showed as the subjects of the group 1 They were able to immediately perform unknown tasks and maintain their work efficiency at a high rate. These subjects had characteristics such as creativity. According to the personality tests, the subjects of group 1 were also people of high intellect, analytical mind, with a tendency to work alone, intolerance to uncertainty and delayed decision making. These seemed to possess self-control, lack of anxiety and a desire to lead.

The subjects of group 2 however, they developed a strategy to complete the tasks; during this fact the activity of the right hemisphere was very pronounced. In the following tasks, however, when the strategy was created, the activity of the right hemisphere decreased and showed greater work efficiency than the subjects of group 1, since they did not get tired and kept pace for longer. According to the personality test, the subjects of group 2, in addition to high scores in self-control, had a determining quality: emotional maturity. His intellectual scores were high, but not as high as those of group 1.

The subjects of Group number 3, however, they did not develop any strategy to perform the tasks and showed greater difficulty in maintaining high work efficiency. His personality characteristics showed a tendency to work alone but low self-control, intolerance to uncertainty and delay in making decisions that may indicate anxiety. Their intellect was also high, they possessed critical thinking and spirit to experiment.

In conclusion, the subjects of group 2, despite having a lower score in intellect and creativity than the other two groups, performed the tasks with much better performance than the others. This may be due to a high maturity score, which was also reflected in the brain activity of this group.

Although more studies and results are needed that will surely come with time, these investigations show very interesting conclusions. A sign that both human personality, as well as intelligence and the same brain activity work accordingly and linked in a seemingly holistic way.

Links of interest

Personality Traits Correlate with Brain Activity. Michele Solis 2012. //

Can personality be measured ?. Polytechnic University of Madrid. //