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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00203

Grey matter volume of a region in the thalamic pulvinar is specifically associated with novelty seeking

  • 1Department of Neuroscience, KU Leuven, Belgium
  • 2Old Age Psychiatry, Universitair Psychiatrisch Centrum, KU Leuven, Belgium
  • 3Maastricht University, Netherlands

Personality reflects the set of psychological traits and mechanisms characteristic for an individual. Geno-neuro-biologically inspired personality accounts have proposed a set of temperaments and characters that jointly compose personality profiles. The present study addresses the link between neurobiology and personality and investigates the association between temperament traits and regional grey matter volume. Furthermore, the specificity of these associations as well as the underlying components that drive the association are addressed. One hundred and four participants completed the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) and underwent structural magnetic resonance brain imaging. The participants included premanifest carriers of Huntington disease, as this population is associated with temperament-related neuropsychiatric symptoms. Voxel-based multiple regression analyses on grey matter volume revealed a significant specific positive correlation between a region in the left thalamic pulvinar and novelty seeking score, controlled for the other traits (Pheight<.05, FWE-corrected). No significant associations were observed for the other temperament traits. Region of interest analyses showed that this association is driven by the subscale NS2: impulsiveness. The results increase the knowledge of the structural neurobiology of personality and indicate that individual differences in novelty seeking reflect the structural differences observed in the brain.

Keywords: Novelty seeking, voxel-based morphometry, Thalamus, Pulvinar, impulsiveness

Received: 05 Jan 2018; Accepted: 06 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Marco Tamietto, Tilburg University, Netherlands

Reviewed by:

Alessia Celeghin, Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy
Mariska E. Kret, Leiden University, Netherlands  

Copyright: © 2018 Stam, Huang and Van den Stock. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Jan Van den Stock, VAN DEN STOCK., KU Leuven, Department of Neuroscience, Herestraat 49, O&N II bus 1027, Leuven, 3000, Belgium, jan.vandenstock@med.kuleuven.be