Here comes another study saying that extroverts are happier than introverts. Oerlemans and Arnold B. In this study, the researchers asked introverts and extroverts to report their recollection of how they felt during various activities. Overall, extroversion equals more happiness, the researchers found.
As a staunch advocate of authentic introversionIntroverts and happiness kind of statement feels like a huge step backward. His studies, along with several others in the field of personality research, show that introverts are, on average, less happy than extroverts, apart from during the times when they act in an extroverted manner.
Fleeson argues that these findings indicate that personality may be as important as circumstance when it comes to our psychological well-being.
Numerous studies show that happy people are more successful in almost every aspect of life and that, in fact, we are more productive when we are happier. Therefore, however grating the opening statement of this article feels, it would be remiss of us to simply ignore it without further investigation.
For introverts, the conclusions of Fleeson and others like him raise some important questions, namely: Is there any truth behind the supposition that introverts are less happy?
Can Introverts and happiness reported unhappiness be attributed to an extroversion bias in research methodology? Definitions of happiness can be broadly grouped into three categories: Hedonic happiness experiencing more pleasant emotions and less unpleasant ones. Life satisfaction a feeling that life is good, worthwhile and meaningful.
Eudaimonic happiness living a virtuous life and realizing our potential.
The final of the three — eudaimonia — is widely criticized as a measure of happiness, as it refers more to the behaviors that likely lead to a feeling of happiness rather than the actual happiness itself. Therefore, when discussing happiness measurement, we shall focus on hedonic happiness and life satisfaction, which together are more broadly referred to as subjective well-being.
However, we must recognize the limitations of omitting eudaimonia from our broader understanding of happiness — if we reserve a definition of happiness exclusively in reference to subjective, self-reported emotional experiences, we cannot define the depth or cause of the happiness. One hypothesis that aims to explain the extroversion-happiness correlation comes from research which suggests that each of us has a happiness set-point, driven by our personality and inherited genetics, and that extroverts are naturally happier.
Studies that support this hypothesis include those which show similarities in happiness levels between twins Tellegen et al. By extrapolating data from past research, they found that this figure stood at around 50 percent, with just 10 percent attributed to circumstance and the remaining 40 percent accredited to, intriguingly, intentional activity which we will discuss in more detail later on.
So, if half of our happiness level is down to our genetics and personality, perhaps this offers an explanation for the reduced happiness levels reported by introverts; maybe introverts have a lower set-point compared with extroverts.
This hypothesis presumes the veracity of an underlying assumption that sits behind all of the studies we have mentioned so far; that we can categorically and objectively define and measure both happiness and extroversion.
However, many studies show that this is not necessarily the case — that, in fact, the definition used to measure happiness is often indistinguishable from that used to measure extroversion.
Most significantly, the definition of positive affect the extent to which an individual subjectively experiences positive moods — arguably a measure of hedonic happiness is often almost identical to the definition of extroversion, i.
Add to that the nature of how participants of these studies, such as another conducted by Zelenski et al. PANAS, he states, does not include positive, low-arousal — i. The Life Satisfaction Question. So, we can conclude that the measure of hedonic happiness prevalent within most research studies is potentially biased towards extroverts.
Is this also true of life satisfaction measures? InSteel et al. However, this study and many others fail to adequately explain the correlation between extroversion and life satisfaction.
Standard methods of measuring life satisfaction appear to be relatively consistent. They contain a set of statements about how ideal, satisfactory and accomplished life is and has been to date, and participants are asked to indicate their agreement with these statements i.
Two unanswered questions remain about this methodology, firstly regarding the way in which an extrovert or introvert is likely to score such statements and, secondly, of any potential preference an introvert might have towards attaining eudaimonic happiness over hedonic happiness.
Perhaps an extrovert is more likely to indicate a more positive agreement to the statements, given their leanings towards optimism and higher need for arousal. Should We Act Extroverted? There appears to be evidence to suggest that introverts are happier during times when they act extroverted, leading to statements such as the one presented at the beginning of this article.
In a study Fleeson conducted init was found that introverts reported higher levels of positive affect hedonic happiness at times when they were acting extroverted compared with the times when they acted introverted.
However, this study, and others like it in the field of psychology as demonstrated earlier in this articlefall victim to the limitations of extroversion bias — that, in fact, the indicators of extroversion and positive affect were very similar.
For example, in the first study conducted, extroversion was represented by these four indicators; talkative, energetic, assertive, adventurous.
Positive affect was represented by these; excited, enthusiastic, proud, alert. Kozak encourages us to consider reframing the findings of this study and others like it e. In itself, this is a noteworthy takeout from such research but is sadly overlooked because of the inbuilt methodology biases.
So, in this sense, we find a kernel of truth in our opening quote from Fleeson, if we are to reframe it: Additionally, this study shows that introverts benefitted more from acting extroverted after a period of acting introverted, suggested that a balanced approach to extroverting is most advantageous.The keys to happiness lie in having a sense of purpose, self acceptance and a supportive social network.
Extroverts and introverts have different brain chemistry and . We introverts need to define our own happiness — and then take up the somewhat annoying task of convincing extroverts, “Yes, we really are happy.” Reply valnelson says. Are introverts doomed to a fate of unhappiness?
Science says no, and these happiness tips for introverts are the starting point. While introverts are generally likely to report lower levels of happiness than extroverts, this does not mean that introverts are monstermanfilm.comtely, it’s important to note the happiness benefits of both introverted and extroverted behavior, no matter where you fall on the spectrum.
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