Some personality traits associated with co

Organized people, with high levels of self-discipline, may be less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment as they age, while moody or emotionally unstable people are more likely to experience cognitive decline later in life, according to a study. study published by the American Psychological Association.

The research, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychologyfocused on the role that three of the so-called “Big Five” personality traits (conscience, neuroticism, and extraversion) play in cognitive functioning later in life.

“Personality traits reflect relatively enduring patterns of thought and behavior, which can cumulatively affect engagement in healthy and unhealthy behaviors and thought patterns across the lifespan,” said the lead author. Tomiko Yoneda, PhD, of the University of Victoria. “The accumulation of experiences across the lifespan may then contribute to susceptibility to particular diseases or disorders, such as mild cognitive impairment, or contribute to individual differences in the ability to resist related neurological changes. at the age.”

People who score high on conscientiousness tend to be responsible, organized, hard-working, and goal-oriented. Those with a high neuroticism score have low emotional stability and are prone to mood swings, anxiety, depression, self-doubt, and other negative feelings. Extroverts get their energy from being around other people and directing their energies towards people and the outside world. They tend to be enthusiastic, gregarious, talkative and assertive, according to Yoneda.

To better understand the relationship between personality traits and cognitive impairment later in life, researchers analyzed data from 1,954 participants in the Rush Memory and Aging Project, a longitudinal study of older adults living in the greater metropolitan area. of Chicago and northeastern Illinois. Participants without a formal diagnosis of dementia were recruited from retirement communities, religious groups, and subsidized seniors’ residences from 1997 to the present. Participants received a personality assessment and agreed to annual evaluations of their cognitive abilities. The study included participants who had received at least two annual cognitive assessments or one assessment before death.

Participants who scored high in conscientiousness or low in neuroticism were significantly less likely to transition from normal cognition to mild cognitive impairment during the study.

“Scoring about six additional points on a consciousness scale ranging from 0 to 48 was associated with a 22% lower risk of going from normal cognitive functioning to mild cognitive impairment,” Yoneda said. “Furthermore, scoring approximately seven additional points on a 0-48 neuroticism scale was associated with a 12% increased risk of transition.”

The researchers found no association between extraversion and the ultimate development of mild cognitive impairment, but they did find that participants who scored high in extraversion – as well as those who scored high in conscientiousness or low in neuroticism – tended to maintain normal cognitive functioning longer than others.

For example, 80-year-old participants with high consciousness are estimated to live almost two years longer without cognitive impairment than people with low consciousness. Participants with a high level of extraversion are estimated to maintain healthy cognition for approximately one year longer. In contrast, high neuroticism was associated with at least one year less of healthy cognitive functioning, highlighting the harms associated with long-term experience of perceived stress and emotional instability, according to Yoneda.

Additionally, individuals with low neuroticism and high levels of extraversion were more likely to regain normal cognitive function after receiving a previous diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment, suggesting that these traits may be protective even after an individual begins to progress to dementia. In the case of extraversion, this finding may be indicative of the benefits of social interaction for improving cognitive outcomes, according to Yoneda.

There was no association between any of the personality traits and total life expectancy.

Yoneda noted that the results are limited due to the predominantly white (87%) and female (74%) composition of the participants. Participants were also highly educated, with nearly 15 years of education on average. Future research is needed on more diverse samples of older adults and should include the other two of the big five personality traits (agreeable and open) to be more generalizable and provide a broader understanding of the impact of personality traits on cognitive processes and mortality later in life, she says.

Article: “Personality Traits, Cognitive States, and Mortality in Older Adults,” by Tomiko Yoneda, PhD, Tristen Lozinski, BS, Andrea Piccinin, PhD, and Scott M. Hofer, PhD, University of Victoria; Eileen Graham, Ph.D., and Daniel Mroczek, Ph.D., Northwestern University; David Bennett, MD, Rush University; and Graciela Muniz-Terrera, PhD, University of Edinburgh. Journal of Personality and Social Psychologypublished online April 11, 2022.

Contact: Tomiko Yoneda, PhD can be reached by email at [email protected]

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