Abstract

Objective: The aim of this investigation was to examine the influence of five personality domains on executive function performance. Method: The sample consisted of 40 community-dwelling older adults (mean age = 71.44 years, SD = 5.01) with an average of 15.75 years of education (SD = 2.27) from the Cognitive and Physical Exercise Study (CAPES). At baseline, participants were administered a 120-item personality inventory (International Personality Item Pool) and measures of executive function including the Tower of London and Trail-Making Test B. A generalized linear model was used to determine the relative contribution of demographic and personality variables in predicting executive function performance. Results: The personality trait neuroticism significantly predicted Tower of London Total Move Standard Score (β = .416, p = .003, 95% CI = .158 - .716, R2 Change = .161) over and above the relevant covariates of age, gender, education, and Trail-Making Test B score, F(4, 35) = 5.71, p = .001, R2 = .456. An increase in neuroticism was associated with better performance on this executive function measure. No other personality domains or demographic variables were significant predictors. Conclusion(s): Future research should explore the impact of personality factors on neuropsychological performance. Possible explanations for the positive relationship between neuroticism and executive function performance will be discussed.