EEG-based Personality Assessment

Main Topic Post – EEG-based personality assessment - T. Collura
One important new trend in personality assessment is the use of the electroencephalograph (EEG) as a means to describe individual differences as well as the underlying dynamics of psychological concerns.  This test is normally only used in hospitals or clinics in connection with epilepsy or head injury, but it also has value in psychological assessment.  Hegerl et al. (2008), for example, were able to differentiate BPD, OCD, and healthy volunteers, based upon an EEG measure.  Jetha, Schmidt, and Goldberg (2009) showed that an EEG measure from the front of the brain could be used to see when individuals were being shy or sociable, based upon the asymmetry.  This asymmetry is also associated with mood, particularly depression.  As another example, Knyazev (2010) was able to differentiate extraversion and behavioral inhibition based upon a ratio of EEG energy between the front and back of the brain.  These types of studies show that we can redefine how we view the client, and incorporate basic neuroscience directly into the assessment.  In this way, we understand the client in functional terms, not as a collection of disorders, or even as a collection of symptoms.  With regard to cultural considerations, Paul et al. (2007) demonstrated cross-cultural validity of a large (n=1288) database of EEG’s, incorporating data gathered from six locations in three countries.  Therefore, EEG has the potential to be a culturally unbiased assessment that is free from linguistic or other cultural encumbrances.

In mental health care, this type of physiological underpinning will add a precision and clarity that will be of benefit in achieving positive outcomes in minimal time.  By enhancing initial assessment, as well as making possible ongoing evaluations, it will add value to the counseling process, and benefit clients.

Hegerl, U., Stein, M., Mulert, C., Mergl, R., Olbrich, S., Dichgans, E., & ... Pogarell, O. (2008). EEG-vigilance differences between patients with borderline personality disorder, patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder and healthy controls. European Archives Of Psychiatry & Clinical Neuroscience, 258(3), 137-143. doi:10.1007/s00406-007-0765-8

Jetha, M. K., Schmidt, L. A., & Goldberg, J. O. (2009). Resting Frontal EEG Asymmetry and Shyness and Sociability in Schizophrenia: A Pilot Study of Community-Based Outpatients. International Journal Of Neuroscience, 119(6), 847-856. doi:10.1080/00207450701242966

Knyazev, G. G. (2010). Antero-Posterior EEG Spectral Power Gradient as a Correlate of Extraversion and Behavioral Inhibition. Open Neuroimaging Journal, 114-120.

Paul, R. H., Gunstad, J., Cooper, N., Williams, L. M., Clark, C., Cohen, R. A., & ... Gordon, E. (2007). CROSS-CULTURAL ASSESSMENT OF NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL PERFORMANCE AND ELECTRICAL BRAIN FUNCTION MEASURES: ADDITIONAL VALIDATION OF AN INTERNATIONAL BRAIN DATABASE. International Journal Of Neuroscience, 117(4), 549-568. doi:10.1080/00207450600773665