“Welcome to the party! Come right in – join in the fun! Let me take you around to meet some great guys!”
If that’s the kind of welcome you receive at the door of a common friend’s party, the first thought that flashes through your mind is, ‘I like this person! She’s cool.’
Are Extroverts Happier Than Introverts?
So, you like her ‘cool quotient’. Now, if anyone is to ask what you mean by ‘cool’, you probably would offer these explanations:
- She loves people, meaning she is socially intelligent.
- She radiates happiness, meaning she is in an elevated mood.
- She’s got great vibes, meaning she connects to a new person easily.
- She makes you feel at ease, meaning she has gentle assertiveness.
And how would you define her personality?
“Extroverted. She’s definitely an extrovert!” you almost shout out.
And with that, you precisely echo the commonly accepted belief: That Extroverts Are Happier People.
What Do Experts Say On Happiness of Extroverts?
Yes, they agree: The extroverts are indeed a happier lot.
One of the consistent findings in personality research is that extroverts are generally happier than introverts, and this effect stretches over decades – though all psychologists do not subscribe to this.
[Since we’re on experts, you’ll find it amusing to learn that psychologists and academics use ‘Extravert’ – the original spelling – while the rest of the world uses ‘Extrovert’.] There is positive relationship between happiness and extroversion. Click To Tweet
You may glance through the list of findings that bolsters this ‘Yes’ view:
1. According to Hans Eysenck, extroversion can be regarded as an index of happiness. In the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ), a test to assess the personality traits of a person, extroversion and happiness are dependent on each other.
2. Headey and his team found in 1985 that young extroverted people have greater chances to experience favorable events in their lives. The extroverts are more likely to find chances to fall in love, for example. And this gives them ‘a happiness edge’ over others.
Extroverts are more likely to find chances to fall in love. Click To Tweet
3. Hills & Argyle in their 2001 study found strong correlations between happiness and extroversion.
4. In their research paper The Effect of Personality on Happiness, Nader Kalali and his team write, “Evidences show that there is positive relationship between happiness and extraversion. In researches on 131 undergraduates in Oxford (Argyle & Lu, 1990), 101 students in London (Furnham & Brewin, 1990), 114 individuals in Oxford (Lu & Argyle, 1991), 95 students in Australia (Brebner et al, 1995) and 1076 students in UK, USA, Canada and Australia (Francis et al, 1998), a positive relationship between happiness and extraversion was found (Francis, 1999).”
5. Willibald Ruch, in 1998, concluded that extroverts laughed a lot.
6. Willibald Ruch, in the same study, also found that long-term social relationships caused an increased extroversion in people. These long-term relationships, as anybody would vouch for, are the anchors of our existence – and cause of many moments of joy in our lives.
By the way, the extroverts are the ones to arrive at the party the earliest, and leave the last. And they are the life and soul of the party.
How Do You Spot An Extrovert In A Crowd?
The extroverts have a definite tell-tale pattern in their social behaviors. You can recognize them easily if you look closely for these 6 characteristics.
There was an interesting experiment about the 5th point above, done by Thorne in 1987, which found that when extroverts are put together, they try to learn about each other by asking questions and paying compliments. In a reverse experiment, when pairs of introverts were put together, they sat together in absolute silence. Extroverts when put together, tried to learn about each other. But introverts sat in silence. Click To Tweet
Extroverts use words that relate to people and social processes. Recently, a research that analyzed Facebook status updates from more than 66,000 users, to report that extroverts post statuses that are more likely to acknowledge the existence of other people: party, girls, tonight, amazing, love!
7 Reasons Why The Extroverts Are Happier
What makes the extroverts score high on happiness scales? Several explanations have been offered:
They Are Readily Influenced By Rewards
Gray proposed a theory in 1982 to explain this. He said that extroverts are more responsive to rewards, and hence happier. Larsen and Ketelaar, in 1991, also found that extroverts react more strongly to positive situations. In contrast, the neurotics (personalities with marked anxiety and irritability) are more responsive to punishments, so they are unhappier. A person who is depressed has a less reactive reward system.
That is, a bar of chocolate makes an extrovert happier than others.
They Do More of Socially Enjoyable Things
According to Gray, another reason of their happiness is that they do more enjoyable things of the social kind. They go to parties, clubs, dances, meets, more than others.
They want to be around others.
They Are The Masters of Mood Regulation
It has been suggested that extroverts are in better control of their moods. They can quickly get into lighter moods – and hold on to it for longer periods. And they can snap out of their blues faster than others.
They Get It From Their Parents
Extroversion is partly inherited, as Lykken and Tellegen said after their famous study involving 1400 twins, in 1996. You are passed on some extroversion from your parents. You get some extroversion from your parents. Click To Tweet
They Store Stacks of Golden Memories
The extroverts are said to remember their past in a far more positive light than others. Ryan Howell, in 2011,found that ‘highly extroverted people are happier with their lives because they tend to hold a positive, nostalgic view of the past and are less likely to have negative thoughts and regrets.’
So, while the extroverts hold on tightly to their good memories, the neurotics keep more negative and less positive view of their pasts.
Their Memories Cause A Stronger Effect
Our brains release dopamine – the pleasure chemical – whenever we get a reward (as food, sex, promotion, approval, winning). Extrovert brains release stronger dopamine response to their memories of rewards, found Depue and Fu in 2013.
That is, similar memories can evoke stronger “pleasures” in extroverts than in others. Memories can spark stronger “pleasures” in extroverts than in others. Click To Tweet
Nationalities and Cultures Differ In Extroversion
Though this does not hand out a relationship between happiness and extroversion, nevertheless, in this interesting 1995 study, Lynn and Martin tried to establish cultural correlations to extroversion. They found that India, Nigeria, and USA scored very high on extroversion. Britain and Canada scored a little lower. China was the lowest on this extroversion scale.
That is, country specific cultures have an influence over how extrovert you are. And Chinese are the least extroverted people.
India and USA scored very high, China came lowest on the extroversion scale. Click To Tweet
As we talk about the extroverts and their perpetual state of happiness, you must realize that introverts are also happy – in their own ways (I’ll take that up another time, or you can read Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts). It’s just the type of happiness – the effusive, the declarative, and the socially exuberant type of happiness – that makes the extroverts score more in the studies by psychologists as well as in the minds of common people.
Happiness can also be found in serenity, equanimity, placidity and tranquility.
Susan Cain argues in this passionate TED talk that introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated. Watch it below:
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