Article

Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 321-334

First online:

The neuroanatomical delineation of agentic and affiliative extraversion

  • Erica N. GrodinAffiliated withDepartment of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Brown UniversityBrown–NIH Graduate Partnership Program, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
  • , Tara L. WhiteAffiliated withDepartment of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Brown University Email author 

Abstract

Extraversion is a fascinating personality dimension that consists of two major components, agentic extraversion and affiliative extraversion. Agentic extraversion involves incentive motivation and is expressed as a tendency toward assertiveness, persistence, and achievement. Affiliative extraversion involves the positive emotion of social warmth and is expressed as a tendency toward amicability, gregariousness, and affection. Here we investigate the neuroanatomical correlates of the personality traits of agentic and affiliative extraversion using the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire Brief Form, structural magnetic resonance imaging, and voxel-based morphometry in a sample of 83 healthy adult volunteers. We found that trait agentic extraversion and trait affiliative extraversion were each positively associated with the volume of the medial orbitofrontal cortex bilaterally (t’s ≥ 2.03, r’s ≥ .23, p’s < .05). Agentic extraversion was specifically and positively related to the volume of the left parahippocampal gyrus (t = 4.08, r = .21, p < .05), left cingulate gyrus (t = 4.75, r = .28, p < .05), left caudate (t = 4.29, r = .24, p < .05), and left precentral gyrus (t = 4.00, r = .18, p < .05) in males and females, and the volume of the right nucleus accumbens in males (t = 2.92, r = .20, p < .05). Trait affiliative extraversion was not found to be associated with additional regions beyond the medial orbitofrontal cortex. The findings provide the first evidence of a neuroanatomical dissociation between the personality traits of agentic and affiliative extraversion in healthy adults.

Keywords

Positive emotion Extraversion Personality traits Individual differences Neuroanatomical basis Neuroanatomical differences Neuroanatomical dissociation Voxel-based morphometry VBM MPQ Healthy adult volunteers Human subjects Discriminant validity Personality neuroscience