High extraversion and conscientiousness and low neuroticism predict successful performance during and after stressful conditions. We investigated whether these personality factors are linked to stress sensitivity and to baseline physiology. Stress was induced through negative feedback on gaming performance. Stress sensitivity was determined as the difference in baseline physiological variables (skin conductance, heart rate and heart rate variability) before and after performing the game, as well as the difference in subjectively reported stress. While physiological results suggest that the game indeed induced stress, subjective reports do not. Maybe due to a low level of experienced stress, stress sensitivity (as indicated by the difference in heart rate) only correlates with conscientiousness and not with extraversion or neuroticism. The baseline measurements show the expected correlations between extraversion and both heart rate and heart rate variability-negative and positive respectively. The negative correlation between neuroticism and skin conductance is opposite to what we expected. While the exact mechanisms are not clear yet, the present results indicate that for healthy individuals, there are indeed measurable and consistent relations between physiology and personality. Hence, physiological indicators of personality may ultimately be of value as predictors of stress resiliency.
Brouwer, A-M., van Schaik, M. G., Korteling, J. E. H., van Erp, J. B. F., & Toet, A. (2015). Neuroticism, Extraversion, Conscientiousness and Stress: Physiological Correlates. IEEE transactions on affective computing, 6(2), 109-117. https://doi.org/10.1109/TAFFC.2014.2326402