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Neural correlates of emotional personality: a structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging study.

Koelsch S, Skouras S, Jentschke S - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: ECM results showed that agreeableness scores correlated with centrality values in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the anterior cingulate cortex, and the ventral striatum (nucleus accumbens).Moreover, they indicate that a cardiac signature related to emotionality (E κ) correlates with both function (increased network centrality) and structure (grey matter volume) of the subiculum of the hippocampal formation, suggesting a role of the hippocampal formation for emotional personality.Results are the first to show personality-related differences using eigenvector centrality mapping, and the first to show structural brain differences for a physiological measure associated with personality.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology & Cluster Languages of Emotion, Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Studies addressing brain correlates of emotional personality have remained sparse, despite the involvement of emotional personality in health and well-being. This study investigates structural and functional brain correlates of psychological and physiological measures related to emotional personality. Psychological measures included neuroticism, extraversion, and agreeableness scores, as assessed using a standard personality questionnaire. As a physiological measure we used a cardiac amplitude signature, the so-called E κ value (computed from the electrocardiogram) which has previously been related to tender emotionality. Questionnaire scores and E κ values were related to both functional (eigenvector centrality mapping, ECM) and structural (voxel-based morphometry, VBM) neuroimaging data. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data were obtained from 22 individuals (12 females) while listening to music (joy, fear, or neutral music). ECM results showed that agreeableness scores correlated with centrality values in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the anterior cingulate cortex, and the ventral striatum (nucleus accumbens). Individuals with higher E κ values (indexing higher tender emotionality) showed higher centrality values in the subiculum of the right hippocampal formation. Structural MRI data from an independent sample of 59 individuals (34 females) showed that neuroticism scores correlated with volume of the left amygdaloid complex. In addition, individuals with higher E κ showed larger gray matter volume in the same portion of the subiculum in which individuals with higher E κ showed higher centrality values. Our results highlight a role of the amygdala in neuroticism. Moreover, they indicate that a cardiac signature related to emotionality (E κ) correlates with both function (increased network centrality) and structure (grey matter volume) of the subiculum of the hippocampal formation, suggesting a role of the hippocampal formation for emotional personality. Results are the first to show personality-related differences using eigenvector centrality mapping, and the first to show structural brain differences for a physiological measure associated with personality.

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pone-0077196-b001: Illustration of procedure and data analysis.

Mentions: As a physiological index of emotional personality, we used a cardiac amplitude signature. Amplitudes of the electrocardiogram (ECG, see also Figure 1) reflect regional cardiac activity, which is modulated by a number of psychological factors (summarized in Box 1). Therefore, it has been proposed that cardiac amplitude signatures can be used as biomarker for personality [46]. The cardiac amplitude signature used in the present study is characterized by the relation of four amplitude values of the ECG. The computation of these amplitude values according to the equation shown in Figure 1c results in a value for each individual, referred to as Eκ value. This Eκ measure has previously [46] been obtained using discriminant function analysis on ECG amplitude data to differentiate groups of individuals with higher and lower scores of tender emotionality (as indicated by interviews and self-reports). The construct of tender emotionality refers to the tendency to experience positive emotions (including feelings of joy and happiness), attachment-related emotions (such as love), compassion and empathy. Persistent lack of tender emotion (also referred to as emotional coldness, or flattened affect) is a clinically relevant symptom in schizoid personality disorder and schizophrenia. In that study [46] data from two functional neuroimaging experiments showed stronger BOLD responses to emotional stimuli in amygdala and hippocampal formation in individuals with high Eκ (compared to individuals with low Eκ).


Neural correlates of emotional personality: a structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging study.

Koelsch S, Skouras S, Jentschke S - PLoS ONE (2013)

Illustration of procedure and data analysis.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3842312&req=5

pone-0077196-b001: Illustration of procedure and data analysis.
Mentions: As a physiological index of emotional personality, we used a cardiac amplitude signature. Amplitudes of the electrocardiogram (ECG, see also Figure 1) reflect regional cardiac activity, which is modulated by a number of psychological factors (summarized in Box 1). Therefore, it has been proposed that cardiac amplitude signatures can be used as biomarker for personality [46]. The cardiac amplitude signature used in the present study is characterized by the relation of four amplitude values of the ECG. The computation of these amplitude values according to the equation shown in Figure 1c results in a value for each individual, referred to as Eκ value. This Eκ measure has previously [46] been obtained using discriminant function analysis on ECG amplitude data to differentiate groups of individuals with higher and lower scores of tender emotionality (as indicated by interviews and self-reports). The construct of tender emotionality refers to the tendency to experience positive emotions (including feelings of joy and happiness), attachment-related emotions (such as love), compassion and empathy. Persistent lack of tender emotion (also referred to as emotional coldness, or flattened affect) is a clinically relevant symptom in schizoid personality disorder and schizophrenia. In that study [46] data from two functional neuroimaging experiments showed stronger BOLD responses to emotional stimuli in amygdala and hippocampal formation in individuals with high Eκ (compared to individuals with low Eκ).

Bottom Line: ECM results showed that agreeableness scores correlated with centrality values in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the anterior cingulate cortex, and the ventral striatum (nucleus accumbens).Moreover, they indicate that a cardiac signature related to emotionality (E κ) correlates with both function (increased network centrality) and structure (grey matter volume) of the subiculum of the hippocampal formation, suggesting a role of the hippocampal formation for emotional personality.Results are the first to show personality-related differences using eigenvector centrality mapping, and the first to show structural brain differences for a physiological measure associated with personality.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology & Cluster Languages of Emotion, Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Studies addressing brain correlates of emotional personality have remained sparse, despite the involvement of emotional personality in health and well-being. This study investigates structural and functional brain correlates of psychological and physiological measures related to emotional personality. Psychological measures included neuroticism, extraversion, and agreeableness scores, as assessed using a standard personality questionnaire. As a physiological measure we used a cardiac amplitude signature, the so-called E κ value (computed from the electrocardiogram) which has previously been related to tender emotionality. Questionnaire scores and E κ values were related to both functional (eigenvector centrality mapping, ECM) and structural (voxel-based morphometry, VBM) neuroimaging data. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data were obtained from 22 individuals (12 females) while listening to music (joy, fear, or neutral music). ECM results showed that agreeableness scores correlated with centrality values in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the anterior cingulate cortex, and the ventral striatum (nucleus accumbens). Individuals with higher E κ values (indexing higher tender emotionality) showed higher centrality values in the subiculum of the right hippocampal formation. Structural MRI data from an independent sample of 59 individuals (34 females) showed that neuroticism scores correlated with volume of the left amygdaloid complex. In addition, individuals with higher E κ showed larger gray matter volume in the same portion of the subiculum in which individuals with higher E κ showed higher centrality values. Our results highlight a role of the amygdala in neuroticism. Moreover, they indicate that a cardiac signature related to emotionality (E κ) correlates with both function (increased network centrality) and structure (grey matter volume) of the subiculum of the hippocampal formation, suggesting a role of the hippocampal formation for emotional personality. Results are the first to show personality-related differences using eigenvector centrality mapping, and the first to show structural brain differences for a physiological measure associated with personality.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus