Chimp Personality Linked to Their Brain Structure

First Posted: Sep 29, 2015 01:33 PM EDT

Chimpanzees' personality traits may actually be linked to the structures in their brain. Scientists have taken a closer look at chimps and have found that brain structure plays a vital role when it comes to their personalities.

In this latest study, the researchers studied 107 chimpanzees' brains using magnetic resonance image (MRI) scans and also assessed each chimp's personality by using a 41-item personality questionnaire.

So what did they find? The researchers discovered that chimps who were rated higher for the personality traits of openness and extraversion had greater grey-matter volumes in the anterior cingulate cortex in both hemispheres of the brain. Chimps who were rated higher on reactivity/unpredictability had higher grey-matter volumes in the right mesial prefrontal cortex.

"Our results confirm the importance of neuroscientific approaches to the study of basic personalities and suggest that when compared to humans many of these associations are comparable in chimpanzees," said Robert Latzman, one of the researchers, in a news release.

The findings don't just have implications for chimpanzees, either. They could also have implications for humans. They show that both grey-matter volumes of various frontal cortex region and grey-matter volumes of asymmetries are associated with various personality traits.

The findings are published in the journal NeuroImage.

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