Molecular Brain Imaging of Personality Traits in Nonhuman Primates: A Study of the Common Marmoset

  • Chihiro Yokoyama
  • Hirotaka Onoe
Part of the Primatology Monographs book series (PrimMono)


In vivo noninvasive brain imaging with positron emission tomography (PET) using positron-labeled tracers that bind to target molecules enables quantitative brain mapping of molecules across species, including humans. We established a PET imaging method for conscious common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus), a small primate species noted for its high social tolerance and cooperative sociality. We used this method to examine the dopaminergic and serotonergic systems of the common marmoset brain. In particular, we examined the relation between factorial scores of behavioral personality traits and binding potentials of serotonin and dopamine transporters, which regulate rates of neurotransmission, using radioligands such as [11C]DASB and [11C]PE2I, respectively. We found specific neurochemical and neuroanatomical associations with personality traits of individual common marmosets that mirror those in humans. These results demonstrate that molecular brain imaging combined with quantitative behavioral analysis can provide valuable information for understanding the neural bases of personality in nonhuman primates and, potentially, humans. Studies of this type can also be useful in highlighting how genes and the environment influence personality.


Positron Emission Tomography Personality Trait Social Anxiety Positron Emission Tomography Imaging Positron Emission Tomography Study 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors thank Drs. Tetsuya Hayashi and Yasuhiro Wada for their assistance in performing MRI and PET studies of animal brains. We also thank Ms. Hiroko Nagata for preparing PET tracers and Mr. Akihiro Kawasaki, Ms. Kayo Onoe, and Ms. Chiho Takeda for technical assistance. This work was supported in part by KAKENHI (C) grant 19591388 (to C.Y.) and the Molecular Imaging Program on the “Research Base for Exploring New Drugs” from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) of Japan.


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© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Functional Probe Research LaboratoryRIKEN Center for Molecular Imaging ScienceKobeJapan

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