The Big Five personality traits and CNS arousal in the resting state

  • Based on Eysenck’s pioneering work, CNS arousal has long been considered an encouraging biological candidate that may explain individual differences in human personality. Yet, results from empirical studies remained inconclusive. Notably, the vast majority of published results have been derived from small samples, and EEG alpha power has usually served as exclusive indicator for CNS arousal. In this study, we selected N = 468 individuals of the LIFE-Adult cohort and investigated the associations between the Big Five personality traits and CNS arousal by using the low-resolution electromagnetic tomography-based analysis tool VIGALL. Our analyses revealed that subjects who reported higher levels of extraversion and openness to experience, respectively, exhibited lower levels of CNS arousal in the resting state. Bayesian and frequentist analysis results were especially convincing for openness to experience. Among the lower-order personality traits, we obtained strongest evidence for neuroticism facet ‘impulsivity’ and reduced CNS arousal. We regard these findings as well in line with the postulations of Eysenck and Zuckerman and consistent with the assumptions of the ‘arousal regulation model’. Our results also agree with meta-analytically derived effect sizes in the field of individual differences research, highlighting the need for large studies with at least several hundreds of subjects.

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Author:Philippe JawinskiORCiDGND, Sebastian MarkettORCiD, Christian SanderORCiDGND, Jue HuangORCiDGND, Christine UlkeORCiDGND, Ulrich HegerlORCiDGND, Tilman HenschORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):bioRxiv
Document Type:Preprint
Date of Publication (online):2020/10/26
Date of first Publication:2020/10/26
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2023/07/20
Page Number:19
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY-NC - Namensnennung - Nicht kommerziell 4.0 International