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Persistence and brain circuitry.

Gusnard DA, Ollinger JM, Shulman GL, Cloninger CR, Price JL, Van Essen DC, Raichle ME
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America


The orbitofrontal and adjacent medial prefrontal cortex may play an important role in normal social functioning and affect modulation. Recent anatomical studies of this area of the prefrontal cortex have demonstrated a striking correspondence of fine-grained architectonic partitioning schemes in humans and nonhuman primates. This finding allows neurophysiological recording and anatomical connectivity data in animals to be considered together with functional imaging data and lesion studies in humans. In a functional MRI study, we show that individual differences in Persistence, a dimensional trait assessed with a seven-factor personality model, may be linked to specific areas in the lateral orbital and medial prefrontal cortex and the ventral striatum. These areas are part of an anatomical circuit that has been defined in nonhuman primates and has been implicated in functions related to behavioral persistence. These findings represent a fresh approach to linking normal individual differences in personality and behavior to specific neuronal structures and subsystems.

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