These personality traits can predict cognitive decline later in life – The Hill

These personality traits can predict cognitive decline later in life – The Hill

The story at a glance

  • For the study, researchers analyzed data from 1,954 participants in the Rush Memory and Aging Project.

  • Participants agreed to annual assessments of their cognitive abilities after their initial assessment.

  • The team focused on the role of conscientiousness, neuroticism and extraversion played on cognitive function later in life.

People prone to mood swings and low emotional stability are more likely to experience cognitive decline later in life, a new study finds.

“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. of the study, Tomiko Yoneda.

“The accumulation of experiences throughout life 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.”

For the study, researchers analyzed data from 1,954 participants in the Rush Memory and Aging Project. Participants without a formal diagnosis of dementia from retirement communities, religious groups, and subsidized seniors’ residences from 1997 to present.

Participants agreed to annual assessments of their cognitive abilities after their initial assessment.

The team focused on the role that conscientiousness, neuroticism and extraversion played on cognitive function later in life. Participants with high conscientiousness scores were described as responsible and hard-working, while those with high neuroticism scores tended to have mood swings as well as anxiety and depression, according to Yoneda. . Meanwhile, extroverts were more talkative and assertive.


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The researchers found that participants who had high conscientiousness scores or low neuroticism scores were less likely to see mild cognitive impairment over the study period.

“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 about seven additional points on a 0-48 neuroticism scale was associated with a 12% increased risk of transition.”

The extroverted participants, the researchers noted, generally maintained normal cognitive function longer than other study participants.

The research found no link between any of the personality traits measured and overall life expectancy.

Yoneda added that there were limitations to the study, including a predominantly white participant pool as well as a high level of education.


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Posted on April 11, 2022

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