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Personality's Effect on Gene Expression

A University of Nottingham-led team has linked the expression of certain inflammation-related genes to personality traits.

As Kavita Vedhara and her colleagues report in Psychoneuroendocrinology, they compared the expression of pro-inflammatory genes as well as of genes involved in Type I interferon and antibody responses in 121 individuals to their scores on a personality measure.

After controlling for health behaviors like smoking, the researchers found that being an extrovert was linked with increased pro-inflammatory gene expression, while being conscientious was associated with reduced pro-inflammatory gene expression.

This, the Huffington Post says, suggests that extroverts may be better at fighting off infections, though may be more prone to chronic inflammation issues.

Vedhara and her colleagues write that their findings "may shed new light on the long-observed epidemiological associations between personality, physical health, and human longevity."