A Neuropsychological Study of Personality: Trait Openness in Relation to Intelligence, Fluency, and Executive Functioning
David J Schretlen et al.; 2010
Openness is a personality trait that has been linked to intelligence and divergent thinking. DeYoung, Peterson, and Higgins (2005) theorized that trait Openness depends on dopamine function, especially in the prefrontal cortex. We tested their theory in 335 healthy adults by hypothesizing that individual differences in Openness would correlate more strongly with performance on tests of executive function than on tests of intelligence and fluency. However, Openness correlated more strongly with verbal/crystallized intelligence (Gc; =0.44) than with executive functioning (=0.16) and fluency (=0.24). Further, the partial correlation between Openness and Gc increased from =0.26 among young adults to =0.53 among elderly adults. These findings suggest that Openness is more closely associated with the acquisition of broad verbal intellectual skills and knowledge than with executive abilities localized to a specific brain region or neurotransmitter system.