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Journal Article


Koelsch S, Skouras S, Jentschke S. PLoS One 2013; 8(11): e77196.


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


(Copyright © 2013, Public Library of Science)








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.

Language: en


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