Robert F. Krueger, Ph.D., is Hathaway Distinguished Professor, Distinguished McKnight University Professor, and Director of Clinical Training in the Department of Psychology at the University of Minnesota. Krueger’s major interests lie at the intersection of research on psychopathology, personality and personality disorders, psychometrics, behavior genetics, neuroscience, and physical health.

What do you think is distinctive about Personality Neuroscience as a journal?

Most journals that might publish research in personality neuroscience are focused on the personality or on the neuroscience part of the equation.  Personality Neuroscience is unique in placing equal weight on both the relevance of personality as a conceptual framework, and on the utility of neuroscience as a field helpful in delineating the mechanisms underlying personality variation.

 

How can we establish reliable and replicable findings in a novel field within psychological science, such as personality neuroscience?
This question is one I ponder frequently.  On the one hand, there are understandable contemporary concerns that initially exciting findings in novel fields such as personality neuroscience may fail to replicate.  This likely stems from inadequacies in research design, in particular, samples that are likely too small to provide good estimates of population parameters. On the other hand, biologically informative technologies in fields like personality neuroscience are expensive, and funders can be understandably reluctant to underwrite large-scale data collection endeavors that rely on “unproven” and novel technologies, ideas, methods, and paradigms.  The solution (which we are seeing more frequently) probably lies in assembling considerably larger and more collaborative research efforts.  The age of smaller samples and individual laboratories competing for journal space seems to be giving way to larger-scale endeavors, and more widely available databases, akin to how research proceeds in allied fields such as epidemiology.  This is probably for the best with regard to enhancing the empirical basis for the field.  Nevertheless, there remain challenges pertaining to innovation; obviously, very expensive and larger scale endeavors typically rely on more proven approaches.  Hopefully, the journal Personality Neuroscience can strike an appealing balance between strength of evidence and innovation, and thereby serve as a conduit for progress.

 

What developments in the world of personality neuroscience are currently exciting you?

There is potential in this field to delineate neuroscientific mechanisms that help connect personality with its public health implications.  Personality provides a way of coherently conceptualizing psychological human individual differences, and we know that these differences are important in understanding outcomes such as health and well being.  Personality neruroscience provides a coherent way of conceptualizing mechanisms that underlie these connections.  Without the “personality” part of “personality neuroscience,” neuroscientific inquiry is often somewhat piecemeal. With personality as a coherent organizing framework, a more comprehensive model of the mechanisms underlying associations between personality and outcomes becomes a tractable reality.

Personality Neuroscience is a fully Open Access journal that publishes papers in the neuroscience of personality. Learn more about the journal and how to submit your article at cambridge.org/pen.

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