Extroverts are happier people no matter where they’re from
EurekAlert recently commented on a new study by Timothy Church which indicates that being extroverted leads to an overall increase in positive emotion– regardless of culture.
The study looked at the “Big Five” traits of participants across several different cultures. In a Previous Blog, we mentioned these “Big Five Traits”. The term refers to five universal traits that psychologists use to describe personality: Extroversion, Neuroticism, Openness to new experiences, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness.
Past research has indicated that, in the US at least, introverts experience improved mood when they engage in social behaviors. Church’s study, originally published in the Journal of Research in Personality, set out to determine whether the previous findings could extend across many cultures or if they were true for Western culture alone. Instead of focusing solely on Americans, his study also examined the responses of college students in the Philippines, Japan, China, and Venezuela.
Intriguingly, he found that across cultures, extroversion made people happier. “We are not the first to show that being more extroverted in daily behavior can lead to more positive moods,” Church noted, “However, we are probably the first to extend this finding to a variety of cultures.”
Another interesting result of the study showed that participants also scored more positively on the Big Five traits in situations where they felt they had autonomy. Similar findings have been seen before in previous research done with participants from America and other Western countries, but Church’s study is one of the first to examine these findings in non-western cultures.
His results show that autonomy and feeling free to make their own decisions make people happier even in cultures where individualism isn’t as highly prized as in the US. Investigating similarities in Big Five traits between cultures worldwide is an ongoing goal of Church’s research, and so far, his results have been promising. “Despite all of our cultural differences,” Church said, “the way personality is organized seems to be pretty comparable across cultural groups.”