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Journal Article

Association between Neuroticism and Emotional Face Processing


Scheffler,  K
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Department High-Field Magnetic Resonance, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Klamer, S., Schwarz, L., Krüger, O., Koch, K., Erb, M., Scheffler, K., et al. (2017). Association between Neuroticism and Emotional Face Processing. Scientific Reports, 7: 17669, pp. 1-8. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-17706-2.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0000-C262-6
Neuroticism is one of the “Big Five” personality factors and is characterized by a tendency to experience negative affect. We aimed to investigate how neuroticism influences the neural correlates for processing of emotional facial expressions. 68 healthy participants were presented with emotional dynamic facial stimuli, i.e. happy, neutral or angry, during functional MRI. Brain activations for the contrasts emotional vs. neutral, happy vs. neutral and angry vs. neutral were correlated with individuals’ neuroticism scores as obtained by the NEO Five Factor Inventory questionnaire and additionally investigated for gender differences. The bilateral medial temporal gyrus (MTG) was identified as key region in the processing of emotional faces and activations within this region correlated with individual neuroticism scores. Although female participants showed significantly stronger activation differences between emotional and neutral facial expressions in the left MTG, the correlation between activation and neuroticism scores did not show any significant gender differences. Our results offer for the first time a biological correlate within the face processing network for enhanced reactivity of neurotic individuals to emotional facial expressions which occurs similarly for both male and female participants.