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Study of Personality Important in Understanding an Individual

Update Date: Jan 18, 2013 08:33 AM EST

It has been observed that understanding the personality of an individual goes a long way in providing an insight into the person's psyche. For example, the level of extroversion of an individual may affect his/her brain, particularly when selecting between immediate and delayed rewards.

In a recent study undertaken by Colin De Young and his colleagues of the University of Minnesota, the volunteers were scanned in an fMRI and immediately asked to choose between a delayed reward. The results of the individual's choices were then matched with his/her brain activity and his/her different personality traits.

It was observed that during the task, a region of the brain called the medial orbitofrontal cortex had more neural activity for immediate reward's chances. This is predicted by extraversion.

"Understanding how people differ from each other and how that affects various outcomes is something that we all do on an intuitive basis, but personality psychology attempts to bring scientific rigor to this process. Personality affects academic and job performance, social and political attitudes, the quality and stability of social relationships, physical health and mortality, and risk of mental disorder," De Young was quoted as saying in Medical Xpress.

"Understanding what makes people tick, by explaining the most important personality traits, what psychological processes those traits represent, and how those processes are generated by the brain. The brain is an incredibly complicated system, and I think it's impressive that Neuroscience is making such great progress in understanding it. Linking brain function to personality is another step in understanding how the brain makes us who we are," De Young added.

The research opens wide avenues for psychiatric treatment which can become more personalized instead of a general one. Understanding the personality of the patient will also enable the psychiatrist to assess whether the person will respond or resist the treatment given. A person who is genial in his response has more chances of responding to psychotherapy than a person who is necessarily withdrawn by nature.

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