“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 get right at the door, the first thought that flashes through your mind is, “She’s one cool, happy host.”
Is she an extrovert, you think?
“Yeah, she’s definitely an extrovert! Only extroverts can be that outgoingly happy.”
And with that, you echo the accepted belief note for note: That extroverts are happier than the rest of us, and perhaps even the happiest among us.
Are Extroverts Really Happier Than Introverts
Do the psychologists agree with the common theory that extroverts are happier people?
Yes, they agree. The experts say indeed the extroverts are a happier lot.
One of the consistent findings in personality research is that extroverts are generally happier than introverts, and this effect stretches over several decades into their lives — though all psychologists do not agree to the second assumption.
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. Extroverts are happier. Click To Tweet
Here are six reasons drawn from research why psychologists support the view that extroverts are a happier lot:
- Hans Eysenck found that extroversion and happiness depend on each other. According to him, extroversion can be regarded as an index of happiness. In his Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ), a test to assess the personality traits of a person, extroversion and happiness are dependent on each other.
- 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.
- Hills and Argyle in their 2001 study found strong correlations between happiness and extroversion.
- Nader Kalali and his team in their research paper The Effect of Personality on Happiness write: “Evidences show that there is positive relationship between happiness and extraversion. In researches on 131 undergraduates in Oxford, 101 students in London, 114 individuals in Oxford, 95 students in Australia, and 1076 students in UK, USA, Canada and Australia, a positive relationship between happiness and extraversion was found.” (Momeni, M., Anvari, M. R. A., Kalali, N. S., Raoofi, Z., & Zarrineh, A. (2010). The effect of personality on happiness: A study in the University of Tehran. In Business and social science research conference.)
- Willibald Ruch, in 1998, concluded that extroverts laughed a lot.
- Willibald Ruch also found that long-term social relationships caused 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.
• One of the problems extroverts seem to face more is this: How To Say “NO” To Others Without Hurting Feelings.
Extroverts vs Introverts
Extroversion has ties with dopamine and adrenaline, energy-spending, sympathetic nervous system. While introversion is linked to the acetylcholine, energy-conserving, parasympathetic nervous system. Scans of brains found introverts and extroverts use different primary pathways for information processing.
The extrovert’s main pathway is shorter and simpler, while the introvert’s pathway is longer and tortuous. That is why introverts often need more time to process the stimuli before they respond.
Introverts are highly observant and often catch what others are likely to miss, like the microexpressions on a friend’s face. Research shows they are also more likely riddled with anxiety.
How to 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 for these 6 characteristics:
- Extroverts smile more.
- They look at others more.
- They place themselves nearer to you.
- Extroverts speak in loud and high-pitched voices.
- They take efforts to find out things about you.
- Extroverts are energetic and high spirited.
Extroverts use words that relate to people and social processes. Recently, a research that analyzed Facebook status updates from more than 66,000 users, reported that extroverts post statuses that are more likely to acknowledge the existence of other people, as party, girls, tonight, amazing, love.
Thorne, in 1987, carried out an interesting experiment. He put two extroverts together, and found they were soon trying to learn about each other by asking questions and paying compliments.
In a reverse experiment, when he put pairs of introverts together, they sat there in absolute silence.
7 Reasons Why Extroverts Are Happier Than Introverts
What makes the extroverts score high on happiness scales? What makes extroverts happier than introverts? Scientists offer several explanations.
1. They Are Readily Influenced By Rewards
Extroverts are more responsive to rewards, and hence happier. it was Gray who proposed this idea in 1982. Later, in 1991, Larsen and Ketelaar also found that extroverts react more strongly to positive situations. In contrast, the neurotics (persons with anxiety and irritability) are more responsive to punishments, so they are unhappier.Thus, a bar of chocolate makes an extrovert happier than others. And does so far quicker.
2. They Do More of Socially Enjoyable Things
Extroverts do more of socially enjoyable things, according to Gray. This is another reason of their happiness. They go to parties, clubs, dances, meets, more than others.
They want to be around others.
3. They Are The Masters of Mood Regulation
Extroverts are masters of mood regulation. Psychologists have 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.
4. They Get It From Their Parents
Extroverts get some of their extroversion from their parents. Lykken and Tellegen in 1996 carried out their famous study involving 1400 twins and found that extroversion is partly inherited. So, if your parents are extroverts, you get passed on some of that to you.
5. They Store Stacks of ‘Golden Memories’
Extroverts remember their past in a far more positive light than others. They are collectors of ‘golden’ memories. In 2011, Ryan Howell 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.”
While the extroverts hold on tightly to their good memories, on the other hand, the neurotics keep more negative and less positive view of their pasts.
6. Their Memories Cause A Stronger Effect
Extroverts have a shorter brain stimulation pathway, mediated by the dopaminergic neurons. Dopamine is the pleasure chemical of our brains. Whenever we get a reward (as food, sex, promotion, approval, winning), dopamine gets released. The brains of extroverts produce a stronger dopamine response to their memories of rewards, as found Depue and Fu in 2013.
7. Extroverts From Different Cultures Express Differently
Extroverts have a cultural correlation — people from various cultures can have different levels of extroversion. In an 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
In her passionate TED talk, introvert Susan Cain argues that introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.
So, extroverts are happier than introverts. But, as we talk about the extroverts and their ‘perpetual’ state of happiness, you must realize that introverts are also happy — in their own ways.
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.
• Do you really want to know How To Be Happy In A Day?
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Author Bio: Written and reviewed by Sandip Roy – medical doctor, psychology writer, happiness researcher. Founder of Happiness India Project, and chief editor of its blog. He writes popular-science articles on positive psychology and related medical topics.
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