Extraversion and reward-processing: Consolidating evidence from an electroencephalographic index of reward-prediction-error

Trait extraversion has been theorized to emerge from functioning of the dopaminergic reward system. Recent evidence for this view shows that extraversion modulates the scalp-recorded Reward Positivity, a putative marker of dopaminergic signaling of reward-prediction-error. We attempt to replicate this association amid several improvements on previous studies in this area, including an adequately-powered sample (N = 100) and thorough examination of convergent-divergent validity. Participants completed a passive associative learning task presenting rewards and non-rewards that were either predictable or unexpected. Frequentist and Bayesian analyses confirmed that the scalp recorded Reward Positivity (i.e., the Feedback-Related-Negativity contrasting unpredicted rewards and unpredicted non-rewards) was significantly associated with three measures of extraversion and unrelated to other basic traits from the Big Five personality model. Narrower sub-traits of extraversion showed similar, though weaker associations with the Reward Positivity. These findings consolidate previous evidence linking extraversion with a putative marker of dopaminergic reward-processing.

 

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