Using Electroencephalography and Eye Tracking to Elucidate the Effects of Personality Traits on Inhibitory Control

  • Hung, Lan (PI)

Project Details


Personality traits and emotions are two principal domains that interact closely and bear a substantial effect on the cognitive health of humans. Research has shown that traits like anxiety can have negative consequences on one’s cognitive ability, such as executive functioning and working memory (Vytal et al 2013, 2014). Our laboratory’s recent effort has also demonstrated that one’s cognitive control ability can be highly susceptible to the modulation of emotional arousal (Yu et al 2012), anxiety and repressive response (Tsai 2013), and heightened self-conscientiousness (Yu et al under revision). As such, the science of the brain and the mind must be able to account for such innate differences across individuals in personality and emotional traits in order to really understand people and how they function. Via the use of some reliable behavioral paradigms that our laboratory have previously established to investigate cognitive control (Chen et al 2008; Muggelton et al 2010; Hsu et al 2011), working memory (Tseng et al 2012; Hsu et al 2014), and attention (Chao et al 2010; Chang et al 2013; Tseng et al 2014), in this series of studies we plan to further investigate how salient emotions can affect these cognitive abilities in individuals with different levels of trait anxiety. We intend to combine behavioral studies with electrophysiological and neuroimaging techniques such as fMRI, MRS, ERP and EEG to investigate the neural underpinnings of anxietyand inhibitory control from different angles. The immediate aim of this series of experiments istwo-fold. First, we aim to elucidate the natures of inhibitory control, attentional orienting, and visual working memory, especially how various aspects of emotion and personality may influence their processing. Second, we strive to reveal the neural mechanisms that are responsible for the behavioral observations described above, thereby developing useful physiological biomarkers that can be used to detect and even reverse some of the negative consequences of anxiety on cognition in individuals who are in need. Our ultimate goal is to establish a theory that bridges the gap between emotions and personality traits which bear a causal effect on conflict monitoring, inhibitory control, visual working memory and attentional reorientation (collectively termed cognitive control in the present proposal); and apply such knowledge for clinical and learning purposes by developing reliable methods and tools that lessens one’s anxiety and enhances cognitive control.
Effective start/end date1/08/1631/07/17

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


  • cognitive control
  • inhibitory control
  • eye movement
  • personality
  • anxiety
  • emotion & cognition
  • neuroimaging


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