Last Tuesday I asked people to respond to a short survey about intro- and extraversion. I received 15 submissions, which was more than I had expected, thank you all!
The survey existed out of 10 simple questions with which I can measure extraversion. Now, this was only a very short sample test.
Extraversion is one of the factors of the “Big Five”, a five factor model designed to measure the personality traits extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, openness and conscientiousness (by now I can type that correctly in one try!). A true Big Five test consists out of a lot more questions to measure the traits more reliably.
Generally, 60-75% of the (western) population is made up by extraverts, and the rest is made up by introverts and ambiverts (those that are as introverted as they are extraverted). The distribution in our group looked as follows:
There could be many reasons for the big difference between two statistics. First, we didn’t take a full Big Five test. Second, to measure extraversion in a population, you need very many people, so 15 people is not enough by far to make any solid conclusions.
Interestingly, those who tested as extraverted, had jobs that you’d relate to extraverted people: most of them had jobs that deal with people on a daily basis. The more introverted people were mostly writers. What was equally interesting is that 20% of the participants thought they were more (or less) extraverted than they tested.
Differences in behavior
There are different levels within the , but those that are undoubtedly extraverted love to party – they engage in frequent social interaction, take the lead in livening up dull gatherings and enjoy talking a lot. Extraverts often assume leadership positions, whereas introverts tend to retreat from social situations much quicker.
Eysenck, a British psychologist suggested that the differences between people in their extraversion is caused by differences in brain physiology. Extraverts seek excitement and social activity to heighten their arousal level, whereas introverts tend to avoid such situation to keep arousal to a minimum. He hypothesized that introverts have higher levels of cortical activity and thus are always more aroused than extraverts.
Basically, the extravert needs a lot more external stimuli than an introvert to function properly. The treshold for stimuli lies much lower for an introvert, because their baserate of cortical activity is already much higher than that of an extravert. This means that an introvert is quicker and more easily tired from social interaction and excitement.
Besides brain physiology, researchers have found evidence, by conducting twin studies, that there is a genetic component of 38%-58% for extraversion.
How do you feel that your intro- or extraversion (or ambiversion) has influenced your life?
Tuesday I will discuss what the implications of extraversion and how it is regarded in different cultures. Stay tuned!