PDF 23-35 (Українська)


neuropsychology of personality
Big Five
genome-wide association studies
death anxiety

How to Cite



This work is devoted to the neuropsychological study of personality traits from the point of view of "Big Five" model of personality. The focus is on neuroticism and its neuropsychological correlates in the broader context of the neuroscience. The data on the genetics of neuroticism, the results of neuroimaging studies, and the neurochemical mechanisms of this trait are analyzed. It has been shown that neuroticism as a neuropsychological construct has a heterogeneous structure: an analysis of numerous studies makes it possible to distinguish two relatively independent types of neuroticism, which are associated with specific types of adaptation and different "modus vivendi". Two aspects of neuroticism (according to C.G. DeYoung), such as "volatility" and "withdrawal", from the point of view of genetics, correspond to two endophenotypes: "depressed affect" and "worry". So the processing of aversive stimuli in people with a "volatile" type of neuroticism is mainly manifested in the form of active avoidance of the source of danger, which takes the form of irritability and moodiness. The leading emotional problematic for such people concerns loneliness. The neural circuits that are overactive in this type of neuroticism affect the limbic system, in particular the amygdala. In EEG studies, the role of the left hemisphere, mainly of its frontal regions, has also been established. There is a connection between this aspect and impulsivity, which manifests itself in bad habits, patterns of reproductive and eating behavior. In turn, the "withdrawn" type demonstrates a tendency towards passive avoidance of the source of unpleasant experiences, poverty of expression, and perfectionism. Mental maladjustment takes the form of detachment, "freezing",  practices that indicate emotional decompensation are concerns about the correctness of their decisions and actions. The neural circuits that mediate these behavioral patterns bypass the amygdala and engage the cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical loop. EEG studies also revealed the right hemispheric accent of this type of neuroticism. A connection is traced between the psychogenetics of neuroticism, neuropsychological models of the personality trait of neuroticism (as well as its aspects: lability and alienation), as well as the types of defenses against the fear of death, which are offered in the existential approach (by Irwin Yalom). Thus, it seems reasonable to distinguishing two different types of neuroticism, which have an independent genetic origin and a different psychological nature.
PDF 23-35 (Українська)


Allen, T. A., & DeYoung, C. G. (2017). Personality neuroscience and the five factor model. Oxford handbook of the five factor model, 319-352. DOI:

Cappas, N. M., Andres-Hyman, R., & Davidson, L. (2005). What Psychotherapists Can Begin to Learn from Neuroscience: Seven Principles of a Brain-Based Psychotherapy. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 42(3), 374. DOI:

Chalmers, D. J. (1996). The conscious mind: In search of a fundamental theory. Oxford Paperbacks.

Choudhury, S., & Slaby, J. (Eds.). (2016). Critical neuroscience: A handbook of the social and cultural contexts of neuroscience. John Wiley & Sons.

Cozolino, L. (2017). The neuroscience of psychotherapy: healing the social brain (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology). WW Norton & Company.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2012). Self-determination theory. In P. A. M. Van Lange, A. W. Kruglanski, & E. T. Higgins (Eds.), Handbook of theories of social psychology (pp. 416–436). Sage Publications Ltd.

DeYoung, C. G., Grazioplene, R. G., & Allen, T. A. (2021). The neurobiology of personality. In O. P. John & R. W. Robins (Eds.), Handbook of personality: Theory and research (pp. 193–216). The Guilford Press.

Doidge, N. (2007). The brain that changes itself: Stories of personal triumph from the frontiers of brain science. Penguin.

Fromm, E. (1994). Escape from freedom. Macmillan.

González-Ortega, I., Mosquera, F., Echeburúa, E., & González-Pinto, A. (2010). Insight, psychosis and aggressive behaviour in mania. The European journal of psychiatry, 24(2), 70-77. DOI:

Horney, K. (2013). Neurosis and Human Growth: The struggle toward self-realization. Routledge.

Kandel, E. R. (2007). In search of memory: The emergence of a new science of mind. WW Norton & Company.

Kretschmer, E. (1960). Hysteria, Reflex, and Instinct. Academic Medicine, 35(11), 1069.

Ladavas, E., Nicoletti, R., Umiltá, C., & Rizzolatti, G. (1984). Right hemisphere interference during negative affect: a reaction time study. Neuropsychologia, 22(4), 479-485. DOI:

Luciano, M., Hagenaars, S. P., Davies, G., Hill, W. D., Clarke, T. K., Shirali, M., ... & Deary, I. J. (2018). Association analysis in over 329,000 individuals identifies 116 independent variants influencing neuroticism. Nature genetics, 50(1), 6-11. DOI:

McWilliams, N. (2011). Psychoanalytic diagnosis: Understanding personality structure in the clinical process. Guilford Press.

Mor, N., Zinbarg, R. E., Craske, M. G., Mineka, S., Uliaszek, A., Rose, R., ... & Waters, A. M. (2008). Evaluating the invariance of the factor structure of the EPQ–R–N among adolescents. Journal of Personality Assessment, 90(1), 66-75. DOI:

Nagel, M., Jansen, P. R., Stringer, S., Watanabe, K., De Leeuw, C. A., Bryois, J., ... & Posthuma, D. (2018b). Meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies for neuroticism in 449,484 individuals identifies novel genetic loci and pathways. Nature genetics, 50(7), 920-927. DOI:

Nagel, M., Watanabe, K., Stringer, S., Posthuma, D., & Van Der Sluis, S. (2018a). Item-level analyses reveal genetic heterogeneity in neuroticism. Nature communications, 9(1), 1-10. DOI:

National Institute of Mental Health (2021a). NIMH research domain criteria (RDoC) project negative valence systems: workshop proceedings. Available online at: [Accessed August 07, 2021].).

National Institute of Mental Health (2021b). The RDoC Matrix. Available online at: [Accessed August 07, 2021].).

Oettingen, G. (2015). Rethinking positive thinking: Inside the new science of motivation. Current.

Revonsuo, A. (2009). Consciousness: The science of subjectivity. Psychology Press.

Satel, S., & Lilienfeld, S. O. (2013). Brainwashed: The seductive appeal of mindless neuroscience. Basic Civitas Books.

Schore, A. N. (2003). Affect dysregulation and disorders of the self (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology). WW Norton & Company.

Stahl, S. M. (2021). Stahl's essential psychopharmacology: neuroscientific basis and practical applications. Cambridge university press.

Tallis, R. (2016). Aping mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis and the misrepresentation of humanity. Routledge.

Tam, V., Patel, N., Turcotte, M., Bossé, Y., Paré, G., & Meyre, D. (2019). Benefits and limitations of genome-wide association studies. Nature Reviews Genetics, 20(8), 467-484. DOI:

Tasman, A., Kay, J., Lieberman, J. A., First, M. B., & Maj, M. (2015). Psychiatry (4rd ed., 2 vols.). Chichester, West Sussex, UK, and Hoboken, NJ. Wiley Blackwell.

Warner, M. S. (1998). A client-centered approach to therapeutic work with dissociated and fragile process. In L. S. Greenberg, J. C. Watson, & G. Lietaer (Eds.), Handbook of experiential psychotherapy (pp. 368–387). Guilford Press.

Yalom, I. D. (1980). Existential psychotherapy. Basic Books.

Copyright Notice

Articles in the Psychological Journal are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License International CC-BY that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal. For more detailed information, please, fallow the link -