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Exploring the Neurophysiological Correlates of Extraversion Using Electroencephalography (EEG)

IDA alumna Vrinda Dimri presented her Master thesis at the graduation ceremony of the IDA cohort 2021-2023.

Personality neuroscience aims to explore and understand the underlying neurophysiological correlates of personality. One way to assess the neural correlates is through assessing electrophysiological activity (e.g., via an electroencephalogram (EEG)) during cognitive task performance. The current study aimed to explore the neurophysiological correlates of a specific personality trait, namely extraversion, using EEG. Past event-related potential (ERP) studies have shown that extraversion is significantly and positively associated with reward positivity, as assessed by Feedback Related Negativity (FRN). However, the neurophysiological relation between extraversion and reward-and-loss based decision-making remains unexplored. The current study aimed to bridge this knowledge gap. It was expected that due to higher reward sensitivity, extraversion would be inversely related to FRN during an active decision-making task. Additionally, we sought to replicate previous findings that extraversion is associated with a smaller P300 amplitude observed during an auditory oddball task that measures attention. 55 young adults (Mage= 20.82 years, SD= 2.73) completed a decision-making task and an auditory oddball task while EEG was recorded. Results indicated that assertiveness, a sub-facet of extraversion, was associated with better decision-making task performance. Behavioural data revealed no effect of extraversion on risk-preference or decision-making quality. Repeated measures analysis of covariance (rmANCOVA) indicated that FRN and P300 mean amplitudes did not vary depending on extraversion. By using a novel active decision-making paradigm, the current study aided in understanding how the neural expression of extraversion is subject to various ancillary factors such as task characteristics. Potential limitations and implications were further elaborated upon.

Keywords: extraversion, decision-making, auditory oddball task, electroencephalography (EEG)

Vrinda is now continuing her academic career as a PhD student at the University of British Columbia . Congratulations Vrinda and best of luck with your new position!

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