Cerebellum and Personality Traits

Laura Petrosini, Debora Cutuli, Eleonora Picerni, Daniela Laricchiuta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Personality traits are multidimensional traits comprising cognitive, emotional, and behavioral characteristics, and a wide array of cerebral structures mediate individual variability. Differences in personality traits covary with brain morphometry in specific brain regions. A cerebellar role in emotional and affective processing and on personality characteristics has been suggested. In a large sample of healthy subjects of both sexes and differently aged, the macro- and micro-structural variations of the cerebellum were correlated with the scores obtained in the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) by Cloninger. Cerebellar volumes were associated positively with Novelty Seeking scores and negatively with Harm Avoidance scores. Given the cerebellar contribution in personality traits and emotional processing, we investigated the cerebellar involvement even in alexithymia, construct of personality characterized by impairment in cognitive, emotional, and affective processing. Interestingly, the subjects with high alexithymic traits had larger volumes in the bilateral Crus 1. The cerebellar substrate for some personality dimensions extends the relationship between personality and brain areas to a structure up to now thought to be involved mainly in motor and cognitive functions, much less in emotional processes and even less in personality individual differences. The enlarged volumes of Crus 1 in novelty seekers and alexithymics support the tendency to action featuring both personality constructs. In fact, Novelty Seeking and alexithymia are rooted in behavior and inescapably have a strong action component, resulting in stronger responses in the structures more focused on action and embodiment, as the cerebellum is.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-46
Number of pages4
JournalCerebellum
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Alexithymia
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Embodiment
  • Emotion regulation
  • Personality traits
  • ROI- and voxel-based morphometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Medicine(all)

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