Correlation between gut microbiota and personality in adults: A cross-sectional study

Han Na Kim, Yeojun Yun, Seungho Ryu, Yoosoo Chang, Min Jung Kwon, Juhee Cho, Hocheol Shin, Hyung Lae Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Personality affects fundamental behavior patterns and has been related with health outcomes and mental disorders. Recent evidence has emerged supporting a relationship between the microbiota and behavior, referred to as brain-gut relationships. Here, we first report correlations between personality traits and gut microbiota. This research was performed using the Revised NEO Personality Inventory and the sequencing data of the 16S rRNA gene in 672 adults. The diversity and the composition of the human gut microbiota exhibited significant difference when stratified by personality traits. We found that personality traits were significantly correlated with diversity of gut microbiota, while their differences were extremely subtle. High neuroticism and low conscientiousness groups were correlated with high abundance of Gammaproteobacteria and Proteobacteria, respectively when covariates, including age, sex, BMI and nutrient intake, were controlled. Additionally, high conscientiousness group also showed increased abundance of some universal butyrate-producing bacteria including Lachnospiraceae. This study was of observational and cross-sectional design and our findings must be further validated through metagenomic or metatranscriptomic methodologies, or metabolomics-based analyses. Our findings will contribute to elucidating potential links between the gut microbiota and personality, and provide useful insights toward developing and testing personality- and microbiota-based interventions for promoting health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-385
Number of pages12
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
StatePublished - Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (NRF-2014R1A2A2A04006291) and the Ministry of Education (NRF-2016R1A6A3A11932719). It was also supported by the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI) funded by the Ministry of Health & Welfare (HI14C0072). It was also supported with the computing resources by Global Science experimental Data hub Center (GSDC) Project and Korea Research Environment Open NETwork (KREONET) in Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information (KISTI).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017


  • Brain-gut axis
  • Conscientiousness
  • Gut microbiota
  • Neuroticism
  • Personality


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