Auditory P3 indexes personality traits and cognitive function in healthy men and women

Ronald J. Gurrera, Dean F. Salisbury, Brian F. O'Donnell, Paul G. Nestor, Robert W. McCarley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations


The relationship of the auditory P3 event-related potential to major personality dimensions and neuropsychological performance was examined in psychiatrically healthy men and women (28 male, 15 female) recruited from the community. An auditory oddball paradigm was used to collect P3 amplitude and latency data. Personality traits were measured with the NEO Five-Factor Inventory. Several Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised (WAIS-R) subtests, the Digit Symbol Test, and the Trail Making Test comprised the neuropsychological tests. A multivariate statistical procedure (Partial Least Squares) was used to quantify the relationships between P3 variables and personality and neuropsychological performance variables. P3 amplitude was negatively related to Neuroticism and positively related to Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness. Better neuropsychological performance was associated with greater P3 amplitude and earlier latency. Thus, greater P3 amplitude was associated with less deviant personality scores and better neuropsychological performance in healthy subjects. Earlier P3 latency was also associated with better neuropsychological performance. The physiological significance of these relationships is not yet clear, but these results suggest that neural assemblies indexed by P3 may subserve both elemental cognition and healthy personality function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-228
Number of pages14
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Feb 28 2005


  • Cognitive neuroscience
  • Event-related potentials
  • Partial least squares analysis
  • Personality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Psychology(all)

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