Five-factor model personality traits and verbal fluency in 10 cohorts.

Personality traits, such as Neuroticism and Conscientiousness, are associated with cognitive outcomes across the life span, including cognitive function in young adulthood and risk of cognitive impairment and dementia in old age. Research on personality and age-related cognition has focused primarily on memory-related tasks and outcomes. The purpose of this research is to address the relation between Five Factor Model personality traits and another critical marker of cognitive function that has received less attention–verbal fluency. We examine this relation across adulthood in 10 cohorts (11 samples) that totaled more than 90,000 participants (age range 16—101). Participants in all samples reported on their personality traits and completed at least one fluency task (semantic and/or letter). A meta-analysis of semantic fluency (N = 86,044) indicated that participants who scored lower in Neuroticism, and higher in Extraversion, Openness, and Conscientiousness, retrieved more words, independent of age, gender, and education. These associations generally replicated for the letter fluency task (3 samples; N = 11,551). Moderation analysis indicated that the associations between personality and semantic fluency were stronger in older samples (except for Openness) and among individuals with lower education. This pattern suggests that these associations are stronger in groups vulnerable to severe cognitive impairment. Personality traits have pervasive associations with fluency tasks that are replicable across samples and age groups. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)