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Inhibitory control is subserved in part by discrete regions of the prefrontal cortex whose functionality may be altered according to specific trait-based phenotypes. Using a unified model of normal range personality traits, we examined activation within lateral and medial aspects of the prefrontal cortex during a manual go/no-go task. Evoked hemodynamic oxygenation within the prefrontal cortex was measured in 106 adults using a 16-channel continuous-wave functional near-infrared spectroscopy system. Within lateral regions of the prefrontal cortex, greater activation was associated with higher trait levels of extraversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness, and lower neuroticism. Higher agreeableness was also related to more activation in the medial prefrontal cortex during inhibitory control. These results suggest that personality traits reflecting greater emotional stability, extraversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness may be associated with more efficient recruitment of control processes subserved by lateral regions of the prefrontal cortex. These findings highlight key links between trait-based phenotypes and neural activation patterns in the prefrontal cortex underlying inhibitory control.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Journal Article

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