Abstract

We propose that the application of network theory to established psychological personality conceptions has great potential to advance a biologically-plausible model of human personality. Stable behavioral tendencies are conceived as personality ‘traits’. Such traits demonstrate considerable variability between individuals, and extreme expressions represent risk factors for psychological disorders. Although the psychometric assessment of personality has more than hundred years tradition, it is not yet clear whether traits indeed represent ‘biophysical entities’ with specific and dissociable neural substrates. For instance, it is an open question whether there exists a correspondence between the multi-layer structure of psychometrically-derived personality factors and the organizational properties of trait-like brain systems. After a short introduction into fundamental personality conceptions, this article will point out how network neuroscience can enhance our understanding about human personality. We will examine the importance of intrinsic (task-independent) brain connectivity networks and show means to link brain features to stable behavioral tendencies. Questions and challenges arising from each discipline itself and their combination are discussed and potential solutions are developed. We close by outlining future trends and by discussing how further developments of network neuroscience can be applied to personality research.

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