Some of us have more assertive personalities, while some of us keep more to ourselves. Our personality can affect how we see our world, just like our mental health. But what if these two things affected each other?

According to research, personal control and decision making is affected by having an assertive versus a passive personality, combined with one’s mental health status.

“Our brain’s reward and motivation systems show higher activity when we feel personal control in a situation and when we receive rewards that we’ve earned, rather than been given – this activity was depended on people with passive personalities or with symptoms of depression,” stated Cameron Carter, MD, Editor of Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging  (“Personality and Mood,” 2018).

To evaluate this, the researchers utilized 122 healthy people and used an MRI scanner to evaluate their brain activity while they “played a computer game to earn rewards.”  The researchers decided upon this experiment to evaluate how people value the rewards differently based on their own driven decisions, versus when the computer would reward them.

It was found that participants who had depressive tendencies were less likely to have activation in their ventral striatum, which affects motivation levels.

“Since these brain networks were differentially active in the presence of subclinical depressive symptoms, it suggests a future role for function brain imaging in understanding individual differences in mental wellness and in informing early intervention and prevention of mood disorders,” stated Carter. (“Personality and Mood,” 2018).


Elsevier. (2018, November 20). Personality and mood affect brain response to personal choice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181120125900.htm