A new study by health psychologists at The University of Nottingham and the University of California in Los Angeles has revealed how certain aspects of our personality may affect our health and wellbeing.
Researchers used highly sensitive microarray technology to examine relationships between five major human personality traits and two groups of genes active in human white blood cells (leukocytes) – one involving inflammation, and another involving antiviral responses and antibodies.
Leading researcher, Professor Kavita Vedhara, said, “The results indicated that ‘extraversion’ was significantly associated with an increased expression of pro-inflammatory genes and that ‘conscientiousness’ was linked to a reduced expression of pro-inflammatory genes. Individuals who they would expect to be exposed to more infections as a result of their socially orientated nature (i.e. extraverts) appear to have immune systems that they would expect can deal effectively with infection. While individuals who may be less exposed to infections because of their cautious/conscientious dispositions have immune systems that may respond less well.”
This research sheds new light on the long-observed epidemiological associations between personality, physical health, and human longevity.