Personality as a Source of Individual Differences in Cognition among Older African Americans

Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, Duke University Medical Center, Box 3003, Durham, NC 27710 USA.
Journal of Research in Personality (Impact Factor: 2). 10/2012; 46(5):465-471. DOI: 10.1016/j.jrp.2012.04.006
Source: PubMed


Previous research suggests that demographic factors are important correlates of cognitive functioning in African Americans; however, less attention has been given to the influence of personality. The present study explored how dimensions and facets of personality predicted individual variability in cognition in a sample of older African Americans from the Baltimore Study of Black Aging. Cognition was assessed by verbal learning and attention/working memory measures. Personality was measured by the NEO Personality Inventory. Linear regressions controlling for demographic factors showed that Neuroticism, Openness, and Agreeableness were significant regression predictors of cognitive performance. Individual facets of all five personality dimensions were also associated with cognitive performance. These findings suggest personality is important in understanding variability in cognition among older African Americans.

Download full-text


Available from: Jacqueline Bichsel, Jul 07, 2015
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Personality traits and cognitive performance are related, but little work has examined how these associations vary by personality facet or age. 154 adults aged 22–84 completed the Brief Test of Adult Cognition by Telephone (BTACT) and the NEO Five Factor Personality Inventory. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses showed negative emotional aspects of personality (neuroticism, depression) were associated with lower reasoning, and social aspects of personality (assertiveness) were associated with faster reaction time, yet lower reasoning. The association between neuroticism and performance was found primarily among younger adults. In older adulthood, better performance was associated with positive emotional aspects of personality. We discuss how personality may have different associations with performance across age and the implications for possible interventions.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2013 · Personality and Individual Differences
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: It is well established that fundamental aspects of cognition such as memory and speed of processing tend to decline with age; however, there is substantial between-individual variability in levels of cognitive performance in older adulthood and in rates of change in cognitive abilities over time. Recent years have seen an increasing number of studies concerned with examining personality characteristics as possible predictors of some of this variability in cognitive aging. The purpose of this article is to review the literature, and identify patterns of findings regarding the relationships between personality (focusing on the Big-5) and cognitive ability across nonclinical populations of older adults. Possible mechanisms underlying associations of personality characteristics with cognition are reviewed, and assessed in the context of the current literature. Some relatively consistent relationships are identified, including positive associations between openness and cognitive ability, and associations of conscientiousness with slower rates of cognitive decline. However, the relationships between several personality traits and cognitive abilities in older adults remain unclear. We suggest some approaches to research design and analysis that may help increase our understanding of how personality differences may contribute to cognitive aging.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2014 · Aging Neuropsychology and Cognition
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cognitive flexibility, a core aspect of executive functioning, is required for the speeded shifting between different tasks and sets. Using an interindividual differences approach, we examined whether cognitive flexibility, as assessed by the Delis-Kaplan card-sorting test, is associated with gray matter volume (GMV) and functional connectivity (FC) of regions of a core network of multiple cognitive demands as well as with different facets of trait impulsivity. The core multiple-demand network was derived from three large-scale neuroimaging meta-analyses and only included regions that showed consistent associations with sustained attention, working memory as well as inhibitory control. We tested to what extent self-reported impulsivity as well as GMV and resting-state FC in this core network predicted cognitive flexibility independently and incrementally. Our analyses revealed that card-sorting performance correlated positively with GMV of the right anterior insula, FC between bilateral anterior insula and midcingulate cortex/supplementary motor area as well as the impulsivity dimension "Premeditation." Importantly, GMV, FC and impulsivity together accounted for more variance of card-sorting performance than every parameter alone. Our results therefore indicate that various factors contribute individually to cognitive flexibility, underlining the need to search across multiple modalities when aiming to unveil the mechanisms behind executive functioning.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Brain Structure and Function