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By Georg Stenberg, Ingmar Rosén and Jarl Risberg


Earlier research has shown that extraverts tend to increase their visual evoked potential amplitudes with increasing light intensity (augmenting), while introverts reach their maximum amplitude at lower intensities (reducing). The evoked response has normally been measured from association areas of the brain (at the vertex). The present study measured VEP amplitudes over visual cortex and at the vertex, using four light intensities in two conditions, where attention was either directed towards the light stimuli, or away from them by a concurrent auditory task. Forty subjects were classified as extraverts or introverts based on the Eysenck Personality Inventory. The results show that attention interacted significantly with extraversion. Introverts exhibited a narrower focus of attention, while higher amplitudes and amplitude-intensity functions when attending to the light flashes and loner when distracted. Extraverts showed smaller differences between conditions. indicating a more evenly distributed attention. Higher arousal in introverts is the probable cause of their narrower focus of attention. There were marked differences in the distribution of activity between vertex and occipital cortex. Introverts showed relatively stronger occipital responses and extraverts stronger vertex responses across all intensities and in both conditions. The predisposition for mainly perceptual responses to aversive stimuli in introverts, and for general alerting and motor preparatory responses in extraverts, are interpreted as supportive of Brebner and Cooper's hypothesis that introverts are 'geared to inspect' and extraverts are 'geared to respond'

Year: 1990
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