What is Extraversion and How Does it Affect Behaviour?
Are you an extravert?
Here’s an activity for you. Take ten minutes to write about a happy time in your life. You can write anything, just make sure it’s about a time that made you feel good. It could be a holiday, a romantic date, or even just playing on a video game. Whatever it is, take some time to think about it, and come back to me when you’re finished.
Done? Okay, now how did that make you feel? Pleasant, I hope. Maybe even warm and fuzzy. And if you’re extraverted, potentially it was fantastic!
People who score highly on extraversion
People who score highly on extraversion have a predisposition that encourages positive emotions. They are more likely to feel joy, desire, enthusiasm and excitement – and they often feel these things to higher degrees than their non-extraverted counterparts. When asked to write about a positive experience, such as the above, extraverts tend to feel far happier afterwards – and generally seem to get a greater kick out of many of the pleasures in life.
This heightened enjoyment of rewards makes extraverts far more likely to pursue them. And they pursue them in many different ways. Extraverts generally have a strong desire for sex and romance, prize social status, and long to be the centre of attention. More than this, they often enjoy high-impact sports, love travelling, and crave novelty.
Extraverts tend to be happier than introverts, as well as more popular. They go to more parties and have a higher lifetime income. But after all, they are wired to seek out such rewards and get a greater pleasure from such accomplishments. Plus, while extraverts may make friends faster than introverts, research suggests that such friendships are not necessarily destined to last.
All is not rosy in the highly extroverted person’s existence. In fact, their drive to obtain pleasure and their desire to maximise it, can often lead to risk taking and its concomitant effects. Extraversion in young people is associated with an early death – probably due to its link with drinking and drug-taking, as well as other reckless activities. Interestingly, extraverted bus drivers are far more likely to cause accidents, running off-road and outright crashing their bus.
So next time you wish you were more extraverted, keep in mind that you might also want to wish that your bus driver isn’t.
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