Article Title

A neuroimaging study of personality traits and self-reflection


This study examines the blood-oxygen level dependent (BOLD) activation of the brain associated with the four distinctive thinking styles associated with the four personality orientations of the Gountas Personality Orientations (GPO) survey: Emotion/Feeling-Action, Material/Pragmatic, Intuitive/Imaginative, and Thinking/Logical. The theoretical postulation is that each of the four personality orientations has a dominant (primary) thinking style and a shadow (secondary) thinking style/trait. The participants (N = 40) were initially surveyed to determine their dominant (primary) and secondary thinking styles. Based on participant responses, equal numbers of each dominant thinking style were selected for neuroimaging using a unique fMRI cognitive activation paradigm. The neuroimaging data support the general theoretical hypothesis of the existence of four different BOLD activation patterns, associated with each of the four thinking styles. The fMRI data analysis suggests that each thinking style may have its own cognitive activation system, involving the frontal ventromedial, posterior medial, parietal, motor, and orbitofrontal cortex. The data also suggest that there is a left hemisphere relationship for the Material/Pragmatic and Thinking/Logical styles and a right activation relationship for Emotional/Feeling and Intuitive/Imaginative styles. Additionally, the unique self-reflection paradigm demonstrated that perception of self or self-image, may be influenced by personality type; a finding of potentially far-reaching implications.


neuroimaging, personality, orientations, self-reflection, thinking styles, fMRI

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