Can Personality Traits Affect Romantic And Friendship Interactions?

With the reduced numbers of #siblings and cousins, human non-kin relationships are becoming increasingly significant in our lives. Kin relationships are perceived to be more stable and granted, whereas non-kin relationships require constant monitoring and personal commitment. However, social investment is required for us in order to maintain both of these types of #relationships.

Personality is defined as one’s characteristic set of thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. According to the Big Five personality traits model, personality comprises five core dimensions:

  1. openness to experiences,

  2. conscientiousness,

  3. extraversion,

  4. agreeableness, and

  5. neuroticism.

We perceive our romantic and social interactions according to our personality traits as well as the closeness we experience in our relationships. Therefore, neural processes that occur in the brain region involved in social cognition, called the prefrontal cortex, can be better understood through the varying perceptions of our social relationships.

Azhari et al. 2019, measured the effect of personality variables on prefrontal cortical responses to scenes of both kin, and non-kin relationships.


Among all other personality dimensions, openness most potently governs the development of friendships, where the ideal friend is described to have the same level of openness as the individual. Persons higher on openness, who are used having less traditional friendships and possess a variety of friends, including more friends from the opposite gender, engage in more flexible perceptual assessments when viewing non-kin interactions which were reflected in the brain as greater activation of the medial prefrontal cortex. Individuals with higher openness trait showed significantly greater activation toward romantic than siblings condition.


Differences in prefrontal cortex activations toward romantic, friendship and sibling relationships reflect underlying variations in the cognitive processing of social interactions, depending on the personality. For example openness and experiences such as relationship closeness of the individual, as well as the relationship type with which the interaction is labelled.

Source: Viewing Romantic and Friendship Interactions Activate Prefrontal Regions in Persons With High Openness Personality Trait.
Azhari et al. 2020
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