Personality and the Brain

The results of our assessment do not only provide you with an overview of your cognitive skills, but also suggest how your personality might be reflected in those. This can help you to understand why you behave in certain ways, as personality plays a big role at work too!

One of the most influential and science-based personality theories relevant for the workplace is the so-called HEXACO personality theory, which relates personality to six basic traits, namely Honesty-Humility, Emotionality, eXtraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness to Experience. If you want to know more about each dimension, open the tabs below.

The HEXACO Personality Traits

Honesty-Humility versus Integrity-Pride

A person who scores high on this trait tends to be honest and direct when, for instance, giving feedback to colleagues. This trait holds, even if honesty leads to a personal disadvantage, because moral rules and ethical behavior are an essential part of that person’s personality. In contrast, a person who scores low is perceived as being more assertive, and is more skilled in nudging their colleagues to, for instance, impose their personal opinion on a project. This can be especially helpful in discussions with clients.

Emotionality versus Emotional Stability

A person who scores high on this trait tends to have a natural instinct for sensing the true emotions of colleagues around them and be influenced by them. This enables them to display valuable empathy towards team members and understand their behavior better. This skill is perceived as them being more authentic by colleagues and clients. On the other side, a person who scores low on emotionality is relatively emotionally stable and can, thus, more easily discern their own emotions from the ones of people in their surroundings. This helps them to feel less emotionally overwhelmed in, for instance, difficult meetings and regulate their own emotions better. Furthermore, they are more resilient, which leads to more stable mental but also physical health.

Extraversion versus Introversion

A person who scores high on this trait is generally perceived as talkative and outgoing and feels energized by social activities and being surrounded by people. At work, they present themselves very confident and self-secure, for instance, when giving presentations. They generally create a positive atmosphere into team dynamics and can, thus, help elevate motivation. In contrast, a person who scores low on this trait enjoys spending time alone and gain energy from that. They are happy when they work on individual tasks without additional help. This enables them to have a deeper focus, which also makes them great thinkers about difficult problems.

Agreeableness versus Disagreeableness

A person who scores high on this trait values interpersonal relations a lot and, thus, avoids conflicts with colleagues by adapting their behavior toward them. In discussions, they are more likely to agree with other colleagues’ opinions, even if it goes against their own. Therefore, they are perceived as being great collaborators and can help when negotiations get difficult. Contrastingly, a person who scores low on this trait tends to be critical of other colleagues’ opinions and has no difficulties expressing disagreement. In a team, they function well as taking the role of keeping a skeptical view on important decisions and warn of potential risks and obstacles. Thus, they represent a more realistic view of matters.

Conscientiousness versus Flexibility

A person who scores high on conscientiousness has a very organized style of working and plans ahead most of the time. Other colleagues perceive them as highly disciplined and motivated to get work done and someone who is in control of their behavior and life. They can be very good in proof-reading a colleague’s work or help scheduling meetings and are seen as a very reliable team member.

Openness to Experience versus Conventionalism

A person who scores high on this trait likes to explore new topics and areas of work and enjoys task diversity. They are also more creative in problem solving and offer rather unconventional ways of dealing with issues. In relation to colleagues and clients, they are open to listen to and take different perspectives and opinions. A person who scores low on openness to experience cares about routines and likes to stick to what they know. This helps to increase the practicality of their working style and focus on one single task rather than several. Additionally, they feel comfortable in situations where conformity is expected.

Personality and the Executive Functions

As you probably noticed, the examples relate to people either scoring high or low on each dimension. However, most people are around the middle of a given dimension. This does not mean that there is nothing to say about them but reflects more so that their personality displays differently in different situations. When comparing the executive functions, working memory, attention, cognitive flexibility, and inhibition that are measured by NeurOlympics to those six traits, research shows interesting links between one’s personality traits and executive functions. Below, you can find more information on how executive functions are related to particular personality dimensions.

Working Memory

Higher working memory capacity is positively related to Extraversion, Emotional Stability, and Conscientiousness. The cognitive advantages provided by higher working memory allow individuals to excel in social interactions, regulate their emotions effectively, and engage in goal-directed behaviors with enhanced organization and focus.



High attentional capacity is associated with Introversion, Honesty-Humility, Conscientiousness, and Emotional Stability. The heightened attentional focus and cognitive control of individuals with high attention facilitate introspection, ethical behavior, goal-directedness, and emotional regulation.

Cognitive Flexibility

High cognitive flexibility is related to Openness to Experience, Introversion, Emotional Stability, and Conscientiousness. The cognitive agility and adaptability of individuals with high cognitive flexibility allow them to embrace new experiences, engage in introspective thinking, regulate emotions effectively, and exhibit goal-directed behavior.


High inhibition is related to Agreeableness, Emotional StabilityConscientiousness, and Introversion. The ability to regulate and inhibit impulsive responses enables individuals to exhibit agreeable and cooperative behavior, maintain emotional stability, engage in goal-directed actions, and display introverted tendencies.


As with many topics in psychology, it is unclear whether you display certain personality traits because of your executive functions or whether you display certain directions in executive functions because of your personality. Thus, we are facing the classic chicken-and-egg problem of what came first. Nevertheless, both personality and executive functions play a crucial role in how you behave at work and can help predict a variety of factors that influence your behavior, and thus, how you perform at a certain job. Therefore, even though we want to make aware of that issue, luckily it does not play a huge role in predicting behavior at work.