Personality traits and its association with resting regional brain activity

Yvonne Tran, Ashley Craig*, Peter Boord, Kathy Connell, Nicholas Cooper, Evian Gordon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The association between personality and resting brain activity was investigated. Personality was assessed using the NEO-Five-factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) and resting brain activity was indexed by eyes closed EEG spectral magnitude from four frequency bands over the entire cortex. Results suggest that there are differences between males and females in the NEO-FFI personality traits. The NEO FFI traits were associated with lower frequency brain activity in both males and females. Mild significant and consistent associations were found between delta and theta activity across all cortical regions with Extraversion and Conscientiousness. There were few associations between personality traits and alpha and beta activity, this was shown in males only. Fewer associations between personality and faster frequency bands such as alpha may be due to the methodological problem of using fixed alpha bands. Multiple regression analyses showed that individual alpha frequencies had a greater contribution to personality traits than fixed band alpha waves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-224
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • EEG
  • Gender
  • Individual alpha frequency
  • Personality
  • Resting brain activity


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