The relation between dopamine D2 receptor density and personality: Preliminary evidence from the NEO Personality Inventory-Revised

Lisa Picken Kestler, Anil K. Malhotra, Clinton Finch, Caleb Adler, Alan Breier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the relation between dopamine (DA) D2 receptor-specific binding and personality, we assessed the relation between DA D2 binding and the NEO Personality Inventory-Revised (NEO PI-R). Background: Previous studies have demonstrated a relation between DA D2 receptor-specific binding and a personality trait involving personal detachment as defined by the Karolinska Scales of Personality. A subsequent study using a different measure of personal detachment failed to replicate this finding, suggesting that metric properties of the personality scale may be important. To further examine this issue, we assessed the relation between DA D2 binding and a third personality measure, the NEO PI-R. Methods: Eighteen adult subjects completed the NEO PI-R and participated in an 11C-raclopride positron emission tomography study to quantify striatal DA D2 receptor binding. Results: We did not find a significant relation between binding and detachment-like traits on the NEO PI-R; however, we found a significant relation between DA D2 receptor binding and the NEO PI-R personality facet of Depression (r = 0.75, p < 0.0001). Conclusions: The results fail to replicate the findings of previous studies reporting an association between DA D2 receptor density and personal detachment, suggesting that the relation is relatively specific to the trait defined by the Karolinska Scales of Personality. The relation between a nonclinical personality trait of depression and DA D2 binding, if replicated, may help to elucidate the role of dopamine in depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-52
Number of pages5
JournalNeuropsychiatry, Neuropsychology and Behavioral Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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