Neuroticism and the brain: A quantitative meta-analysis of neuroimaging studies investigating emotion processing

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Neuroticism is a robust personality trait that constitutes a risk factor for mood disorders. Neuroimaging findings related to neuroticism have been inconsistent across studies and hardly integrated in order to construct a model of the underlying neural correlates of neuroticism. The aim of the current meta-analysis was to provide a quantitative summary of the literature, using a parametric coordinate-based meta-analysis (PCM) approach. Data were pooled for emotion processing tasks investigating the contrasts (negative > neutral) and (positive > neutral) to identify brain regions that are consistently associated with neuroticism across studies. Significant negative and positive correlations with neuroticism were found only for the contrast (negative > neutral) after multiple comparisons correction. Differences in brain activation were found to be associated with neuroticism during fear learning, anticipation of aversive stimuli and the processing and regulation of emotion. The relationship between neuroticism and these three psychological processes and their corresponding neural correlates is discussed. Furthermore, the meta-analytic findings are incorporated into a general model of emotion processing in neuroticism.

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