Dopaminergic Foundations of Personality and Individual Differences
Luke D. Smillie
For several decades, theory and research has drawn links between dopaminergic neurotransmission and various aspects of personality and individual differences, as well as major personality processes. Recent increases in the availability and affordability of neuroscience methods have permitted thorough investigation of such links as part of the thriving field of personality neuroscience. However, the picture emerging from this body of research is somewhat puzzling; Rather than being linked to only a few converging dimensions of individual differences in psychological functioning, dopamine seems to be associated with a wide range of rather disparate traits and psychopathological conditions including (among various others) impulsivity, extraversion, anxiety, reward sensitivity, approach behaviour, achievement motivation, working memory performance, cognitive flexibility, depression, anhedonia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and schizophrenia. Empirical research in this area typically focuses on only one piece of this puzzle based on a specific strand of theory and a narrow section of relevant prior findings. The present research topic will, for the first time, attempt to provide a fairly complete picture of the whole puzzle including all its disparate parts. Contributors will therefore be explicitly encouraged to go beyond their own specific dopamine-personality hypotheses and place their work in a broader context, thereby helping to forge links between largely non-overlapping research traditions.