Joseph Roxby, Nisha Chaundhry, Joseph Nolan, Tifani Fletcher, Natalia Omelchenko-Comer


The personality of individuals defines their behavioral choices, but how exactly the personality traits are expressed remains uncertain, limiting our ability to create a computable model of a personality and predict behaviors. Here, we proposed a new functional personality model that is based on modern neuroscience advances and defined by four parameters: 1) The hedonic values assigned to different “pleasant” aspects of behavioral outcomes (homeostatic balances, improved social status, et cetera); 2) The aversive values of ”unpleasant” aspects (loss of sexual opportunity, potential of injury, loss of monetary reward, et cetera); 3) Summation parameters: discounting and dissolution parameters for simultaneously processed hedonic/aversive events; and 4) Threshold: the relationship between magnitude of predicted outcome and manifestation of behaviors. We expressed the idea through a mathematical formula, applied it, and at 0.90 power demonstrated that our model has an ability to estimate actual responses (Spearman's Rank-Order correlation = 0.5). Although more research and tuning are needed, we believe that our functional model may eventually allow accurate prediction of human behavior.


neural integration, human decision making, behavioral informatics

Full Text:



Anagnostaras, S. G., G. D. Gale, et al. (2001). "Hippocampus and contextual fear conditioning: recent controversies and advances." Hippocampus 11(1): 8-17.

Antonini, G., M. Bierlaire, et al. (2006). "Discrete choice models of pedestrian walking behavior." Transportation Research Part B: Methodological 40(8): 667-687.

Aoki, C. (2016). "Synaptic changes in the hippocampus of adolescent female rodents associated with resilience to anxiety and suppression of food restriction-evoked hyperactivity in an animal model for anorexia nervosa." Brain Res.

Ashton, M. C. and K. Lee (2007). "Empirical, theoretical, and practical advantages of the HEXACO model of personality structure." Pers Soc Psychol Rev 11(2): 150-66.

Baeyens, F., A. P. Field, et al. (2005). "Associative learning of likes and dislikes: Some current controversies and possible ways forward." Cogn Emot 19(2): 161-74.

Barker, F. G., 2nd (1995). "Phineas among the phrenologists: the American crowbar case and nineteenth-century theories of cerebral localization." J Neurosurg 82(4): 672-82.

Bevilacqua, L., S. Doly, et al. (2010). "A population-specific HTR2B stop codon predisposes to severe impulsivity." Nature 468(7327): 1061-6.

Boyle, G. J., G. Matthews, et al. (2008). The SAGE handbook of personality theory and assessment. Los Angeles, CA, SAGE Publications.

Brewer, J. A., K. A. Garrison, et al. (2013). "What about the "Self" is Processed in the Posterior Cingulate Cortex?" Front Hum Neurosci 7: 647.

Buss, D. M. (2009). "The great struggles of life: Darwin and the emergence of evolutionary psychology." Am Psychol 64(2): 140-8.

Buss, D. M. (2009). "How Can Evolutionary Psychology Successfully Explain Personality and Individual Differences?" Perspect Psychol Sci 4(4): 359-66.

Carr, D. B. and S. R. Sesack (2000). "Projections from the rat prefrontal cortex to the ventral tegmental area: target specificity in the synaptic associations with mesoaccumbens and mesocortical neurons." J Neurosci 20(10): 3864-73.

Charnigo, R., S. M. Noar, et al. (2013). "Sensation seeking and impulsivity: combined associations with risky sexual behavior in a large sample of young adults." J Sex Res 50(5): 480-8.

Cloninger, C. R. (1987). "A systematic method for clinical description and classification of personality variants. A proposal." Arch Gen Psychiatry 44(6): 573-88.

Cloninger, C. R., D. M. Svrakic, et al. (1993). "A psychobiological model of temperament and character." Arch Gen Psychiatry 50(12): 975-90.

Comings, D. E., R. Gade-Andavolu, et al. (2000). "A multivariate analysis of 59 candidate genes in personality traits: the temperament and character inventory." Clin Genet 58(5): 375-85.

Courtet, P., Gottesman, II, et al. (2011). "The neuroscience of suicidal behaviors: what can we expect from endophenotype strategies?" Transl Psychiatry 1.

Cummings, J. A., S. M. Clinton, et al. (2013). "Male rats that differ in novelty exploration demonstrate distinct patterns of sexual behavior." Behav Neurosci 127(1): 47-58.

D'Argembeau, A., F. Collette, et al. (2005). "Self-referential reflective activity and its relationship with rest: a PET study." Neuroimage 25(2): 616-24.

Davis, J. R. and C. Reyna (2015). "Seeing red: How perceptions of social status and worth influence hostile attributions and endorsement of aggression." Br J Soc Psychol 54(4): 728-47.

De Houwer, J., S. Thomas, et al. (2001). "Associative learning of likes and dislikes: a review of 25 years of research on human evaluative conditioning." Psychol Bull 127(6): 853-69.

Dejean, C., J. Courtin, et al. (2015). "Neuronal Circuits for Fear Expression and Recovery: Recent Advances and Potential Therapeutic Strategies." Biol Psychiatry 78(5): 298-306.

DeYoung, C. G., Hirsh, J. B., Shane, M. S., Papademetris, X., Rajeevan, N., & Gray, J. R. (2010). Testing predictions from personality neuroscience brain structure and the big five. Psychological science.

Di Chiara, G. (1999). "Drug addiction as dopamine-dependent associative learning disorder." Eur J Pharmacol 375(1-3): 13-30.

Dickman, S. J. (1990). "Functional and dysfunctional impulsivity: personality and cognitive correlates." J Pers Soc Psychol 58(1): 95-102.

Ellis, A., M. Abrams, et al. (2009). Personality theories : critical perspectives. Los Angeles, SAGE Publications.

Emmons, R. A. (1991). "Personal strivings, daily life events, and psychological and physical well-being." J Pers 59(3): 453-72.

Evenden, J. L. (1999). "Varieties of impulsivity." Psychopharmacology (Berl) 146(4): 348-61.

Fairbanks, L. A., M. J. Jorgensen, et al. (2004). "Adolescent impulsivity predicts adult dominance attainment in male vervet monkeys." Am J Primatol 64(1): 1-17.

Fairbanks, L. A., B. M. Way, et al. (2012). "Maternal and offspring dopamine D4 receptor genotypes interact to influence juvenile impulsivity in vervet monkeys." Psychol Sci 23(10): 1099-104.

Gao, L., Z. Wang, et al. (2015). "Collective punishment is more effective than collective reward for promoting cooperation." Sci Rep 5: 17752.

Green, L., J. Myerson, et al. (2004). "Discounting of delayed food rewards in pigeons and rats: is there a magnitude effect?" J Exp Anal Behav 81(1): 39-50.

Hayward, A., A. Tomlinson, et al. (2015). "Low attentive and high impulsive rats: A translational animal model of ADHD and disorders of attention and impulse control." Pharmacol Ther.

Hejjas, K., J. Vas, et al. (2007). "Association of polymorphisms in the dopamine D4 receptor gene and the activity-impulsivity endophenotype in dogs." Anim Genet 38(6): 629-33.

Hurtz, G. M. and J. J. Donovan (2000). "Personality and job performance: the Big Five revisited." J Appl Psychol 85(6): 869-79.

Ikemoto, S., C. Yang, et al. (2015). "Basal ganglia circuit loops, dopamine and motivation: A review and enquiry." Behav Brain Res 290: 17-31.

Jimenez, E., B. Arias, et al. (2016). "Clinical features, impulsivity, temperament and functioning and their role in suicidality in patients with bipolar disorder." Acta Psychiatr Scand.

Jimura, K., J. Myerson, et al. (2009). "Are people really more patient than other animals? Evidence from human discounting of real liquid rewards." Psychon Bull Rev 16(6): 1071-5.

Kable, J. W. and P. W. Glimcher (2007). "The neural correlates of subjective value during intertemporal choice." Nat Neurosci 10(12): 1625-33.

Kahneman, D. and A. Tversky (1979). "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk." Econometrica 47(2): 263-291.

Keifer, O. P., R. C. Hurt, et al. (2015). "The Physiology of Fear: Reconceptualizing the Role of the Central Amygdala in Fear Learning." Physiology 30(5): 389-401.

Kelley, W. M., C. N. Macrae, et al. (2002). "Finding the self? An event-related fMRI study." J Cogn Neurosci 14(5): 785-94.

Kerr, K. L., J. A. Avery, et al. (2015). "Trait impulsivity is related to ventral ACC and amygdala activity during primary reward anticipation." Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 10(1): 36-42.

Kim, J. J. and M. W. Jung (2006). "Neural circuits and mechanisms involved in Pavlovian fear conditioning: a critical review." Neurosci Biobehav Rev 30(2): 188-202.

Kirby, K. N., N. M. Petry, et al. (1999). "Heroin addicts have higher discount rates for delayed rewards than non-drug-using controls." J Exp Psychol Gen 128(1): 78-87.

Kocka, A. and J. Gagnon (2014). "Definition of Impulsivity and Related Terms Following Traumatic Brain Injury: A Review of the Different Concepts and Measures Used to Assess Impulsivity, Disinhibition and other Related Concepts." Behav Sci (Basel) 4(4): 352-70.

Lammel, S., B. K. Lim, et al. (2014). "Reward and aversion in a heterogeneous midbrain dopamine system." Neuropharmacology 76 Pt B: 351-9.

Lang, P. J., L. M. McTeague, et al. (2014). "Pathological anxiety and function/dysfunction in the brain's fear/defense circuitry." Restor Neurol Neurosci 32(1): 63-77.

LeDoux, J. E. (2012). "Evolution of human emotion: a view through fear." Prog Brain Res 195: 431-42.

Lieberman, M. D., J. M. Jarcho, et al. (2004). "Evidence-based and intuition-based self-knowledge: an FMRI study." J Pers Soc Psychol 87(4): 421-35.

Little, B. R., K. Salmela-Aro, et al., Eds. (2007). Personal Project Pursuit: Goals, Action and Human Flourishing. Mahwah, NJ Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Luo, S. X. and E. J. Huang (2015). "Dopaminergic Neurons and Brain Reward Pathways: From Neurogenesis to Circuit Assembly." Am J Pathol.

Maddock, R. J., A. S. Garrett, et al. (2001). "Remembering familiar people: the posterior cingulate cortex and autobiographical memory retrieval." Neuroscience 104(3): 667-76.

Maslow, A. H. and R. Frager (1987). Motivation and personality. New York, Harper and Row.

Mason, L., N. O'Sullivan, et al. (2014). "Decision-making and trait impulsivity in bipolar disorder are associated with reduced prefrontal regulation of striatal reward valuation." Brain 137(Pt 8): 2346-55.

Mazur, J. E. (2000). "Tradeoffs among delay, rate, and amount of reinforcement." Behav Processes 49(1): 1-10.

McKerchar, T. L., L. Green, et al. (2009). "A comparison of four models of delay discounting in humans." Behav Processes 81(2): 256-9.

Mehrabian, A. (1996). "Pleasure-arousal-dominance: A general framework for describing and measuring individual differences in Temperament." Current Psychology 14(4): 261-292.

Mischel, W. and Y. Shoda (1995). "A cognitive-affective system theory of personality: reconceptualizing situations, dispositions, dynamics, and invariance in personality structure." Psychol Rev 102(2): 246-68.

Murray, E. A., E. J. Moylan, et al. (2015). "Specialized areas for value updating and goal selection in the primate orbitofrontal cortex." Elife 4.

Orsini, C. A. and S. Maren (2012). "Neural and cellular mechanisms of fear and extinction memory formation." Neurosci Biobehav Rev 36(7): 1773-802.

Paine, T. A., E. K. Cooke, et al. (2015). "Effects of chronic inhibition of GABA synthesis on attention and impulse control." Pharmacol Biochem Behav 135: 97-104.

Pascual-Leone, A., C. Freitas, et al. (2011). "Characterizing brain cortical plasticity and network dynamics across the age-span in health and disease with TMS-EEG and TMS-fMRI." Brain Topogr 24(3-4): 302-15.

Paunonen, S. V. (2003). "Big Five factors of personality and replicated predictions of behavior." J Pers Soc Psychol 84(2): 411-24.

Peters, J. and C. Buchel (2010). "Neural representations of subjective reward value." Behav Brain Res 213(2): 135-41.

Peters, J. and C. Buchel (2011). "The neural mechanisms of inter-temporal decision-making: understanding variability." Trends Cogn Sci 15(5): 227-39.

Pfeifer, J. H., M. D. Lieberman, et al. (2007). ""I know you are but what am I?!": neural bases of self- and social knowledge retrieval in children and adults." J Cogn Neurosci 19(8): 1323-37.

Phares, E. J. and W. F. Chaplin (1997). Introduction to personality New York, Longman.

Plomin, R., J. C. DeFries, et al. (2008). Behavioral genetics New York, Freeman.

Read, S. J., & Miller, L. C. (2014). Connectionist models of social reasoning and social behavior. Psychology Press.

Read, S. J., B. M. Monroe, et al. (2013). "A neural network model of the structure and dynamics of human personality." Psychol Rev 117(1): 61-92.

Russo, S. J. and E. J. Nestler (2013). "The brain reward circuitry in mood disorders." Nat Rev Neurosci 14(9): 609-25.

Schlund, M. W., A. T. Brewer, et al. (2015). "Not so bad: avoidance and aversive discounting modulate threat appraisal in anterior cingulate and medial prefrontal cortex." Front Behav Neurosci 9: 142.

Schultz, W. (1998). "Predictive reward signal of dopamine neurons." J Neurophysiol 80(1): 1-27.

Schultz, W. (2002). "Getting formal with dopamine and reward." Neuron 36(2): 241-63.

Smith, J. D., J. J. Couchman, et al. (2014). "Animal metacognition: a tale of two comparative psychologies." J Comp Psychol 128(2): 115-31.

Sumner, J. A., A. Powers, et al. (2016). "Genetic influences on the neural and physiological bases of acute threat: A research domain criteria (RDoC) perspective." Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet.

Terracciano, A., L. Balaci, et al. (2009). "Variants of the serotonin transporter gene and NEO-PI-R Neuroticism: No association in the BLSA and SardiNIA samples." Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet 150B(8): 1070-7.

Tikkanen, R., J. Tiihonen, et al. (2015). "Impulsive alcohol-related risk-behavior and emotional dysregulation among individuals with a serotonin 2B receptor stop codon." Transl Psychiatry 5: e681.

VanElzakker, M. B., M. K. Dahlgren, et al. (2014). "From Pavlov to PTSD: the extinction of conditioned fear in rodents, humans, and anxiety disorders." Neurobiol Learn Mem 113: 3-18.

Vogeley, K., M. Kurthen, et al. (1999). "Essential functions of the human self model are implemented in the prefrontal cortex." Conscious Cogn 8(3): 343-63.

Volkow, N. D., G. J. Wang, et al. (2013). "The addictive dimensionality of obesity." Biol Psychiatry 73(9): 811-8.

Wellman, L. L., K. Gale, et al. (2005). "GABAA-mediated inhibition of basolateral amygdala blocks reward devaluation in macaques." J Neurosci 25(18): 4577-86.

Winer, E. S. and T. Salem (2016). "Reward devaluation: Dot-probe meta-analytic evidence of avoidance of positive information in depressed persons." Psychol Bull 142(1): 18-78.

Winstanley, C. A., D. M. Eagle, et al. (2006). "Behavioral models of impulsivity in relation to ADHD: translation between clinical and preclinical studies." Clin Psychol Rev 26(4): 379-95.

Wong, A. H., C. E. Buckle, et al. (2000). "Polymorphisms in dopamine receptors: what do they tell us?" Eur J Pharmacol 410(2-3): 183-203.

Yeo, B. T., F. M. Krienen, et al. (2011). "The organization of the human cerebral cortex estimated by intrinsic functional connectivity." J Neurophysiol 106(3): 1125-65.

Zuckerman, M. (1992). "What is a basic factor and which factors are basic? Turtles all the way down." Personality and Individual Differences 13(6): 675-681.

Copyright (c) 2017 Proceedings of the West Virginia Academy of Science

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.