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Functional correlates of personality & facial perception in old and young adults
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. ARC, Karolinska Institutet.
2015 (English)Conference paper, Poster (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Daily social interaction involves perception of emotional faces. Individual personality is of vital importance for how we perceive and interact with the outer world. Personality has been associated with age sensitive structures in the frontal cortices, and emotional perception. The literature investigating the link between personality, facial perception and BOLD activation is scarce. We assessed the influence of personality on peak fMRI BOLD activation in fronto- parietal areas in response to happy, neutral, and angry faces in a sample of younger (n= 30, 20-31 years) and older (n=31, 65-74 years) men and women. A series of Structural Equation Models was specified to evaluate the influence of age and personality on BOLD activation to emotional faces, contrasted with neutral faces. The behavioral measures included aspects of neuroticism (N), extraversion (E), and openness (O), assessed by a standard questionnaire (NEO-PI) during a first session. During the second session (fMRI), participants worked on the Facial Expression Identification Task that presented them with photos of old and young neutral, happy, and angry faces, randomly intermixed. Images were acquired using a 3T scanner (Siemens Magnetom Tim Trio). Onehundred and sixty functional images each were acquired with a T2*-weighted echo- planar sequence. Thirty-nine oblique axial slices were positioned parallel to the AC-PC line and acquired interleaved. A 1 × 1 × 1 mm T1-weighted image was used for co-registration with functional images. Processing of emotional faces was associated with increased activation in the medial frontal gyrus (MFG) and the post central gyrus (PCG), (FWE corrected). Older adults showed lesser degree of N and O than their younger counterparts. There were no reliable group differences in E. Older age predicted greater activity in PCG to angry faces compared to neutral faces, but there was no significant association for MFG. Extraverted subjects showed greater activity to angry than neutral faces after age was accounted for. E also predicted greater activity in MFG in response to happy than neutral faces, but the association was gone after age was taken into account. A trend was present for lesser activity in the PCG to angry than neutral faces for more neurotic subjects, but the association did not hold when adjusting for age. O was not related to activation to emotional faces in any of the ROIs.Our findings suggest that higher degree of extraversion is particularly important for BOLD activation in age-sensitive key structures in emotional processing. Greater activation of fronto-parietal networks to emotional faces in extroverted subjects may reflect increased use of cognitive control.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Washington, DC: Society for Neuroscience , 2015.
Keyword [en]
personality, facial perception, age
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-123547OAI: diva2:874658
Neuroscience 2015, Chicago, IL., October 17-21, 2015.
Swedish Research Council, 2008-2356
Available from: 2015-11-27 Created: 2015-11-27 Last updated: 2016-03-01Bibliographically approved

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Persson, NinniFischer, Håkan
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