INTRODUCTION How many times have you been in an awkward social situation where you find your face beaming red? How did you react in that situation? Did you want to run away and hide, or did you become best friends with a person you just happened to start talking to? Picture yourself on a streetcar sitting in a seat all by yourself. A lady gets on the streetcar and sits not too far from you and starts talking to you. How do you respond? Do you just smile, nod, and look away? Alternatively, do you smile and start talking up a storm? Many people in Today`s society struggle with the problem of being in a social situation, and not knowing how to act. This problem could be due to a person’s personality. Introversion and Extraversion are two main personality components. Introversion is the inward flow of libido toward the depths of the psyche. It is characterized by shyness, inscrutability, a particular interest in ones own subjective world, and idiosyncratic behavior (Ewen, 1988). For introverts, anything to do with people, expression of emotions, or openness puts fear in their bodies. Introverts stray away from having to work with other people on a task/job and prefer to work alone. All parents want their children to be outgoing and have many friends. For some people they just feel more comfortable being by themselves. According to psychologist Silverman, “It is actually healthy to be an introvert. The only unhealthy part of it is denying your true self and trying to disguise yourself as an extrovert” (2). Extraversion is an outward flow of libido toward the external world. Characterized by habitual outgoingness venturing forth with confidence into unknown, adapting easily to different situations, being particularly influenced by objects and events in the environment, and conformity (Ewen, 1988). Extroverts, different than introverts, feel at ease in a social situation. The idea of meeting new people and socializing with strangers is comfortable to them. An extroverted personality means that when put into an unknown situation, the extrovert finds confidence in adapting. Extroverts are people oriented and throw their ideas out for everyone to know without even thinking sometimes about the consequences. Extroverts are more comfortable in social situations than introverts are in a social situation. Research has been done on the differences in personalities of introverts and extroverts. Thoughts about how our personality traits affect how we act in an everyday social situation have been raised through out time. A study done by psychologists looking at reading a person’s personality in onscreen interactive characters, looked at extroverted and introverted subjects interaction with a character exhibiting personality characteristics associated with either extroversion or introversion. The participants were watched by researchers and behaviors were observed. In society we are drawn more to people who portray the same personality traits we have. From this study it was found that characters were drawn more to those who resembled their own personality traits. Not only are we drawn to those people who resemble our personality, but we are also drawn to those situations and pictures that we find comfortable. In another study by psychologist Canli and his colleagues at Stanford University, women were given personality tests to determine if they had high levels of extroversion or low levels of extraversion and also high levels of neuroticism and low levels of neuroticism. Then they were given an MRI test while looking at pictures of positive and negative natures. Those who scored high on extroversion had more brain stimuli in the emotional part of the brain while looking at positive pictures than those who scored low on extroversion. “Depending on personality traits, people’s brains seem to amplify some aspects of experience over others,” said Dr. Gabrieli on the issue of brain stimulation due to personality traits. Extroverts show more brain reactivity to positive images than introverts (Canli, 2001). In the study of the behaviors that introverts and extroverts portray, they were comfortable in the social situation because they found it positive. The extroverts also found pictures on magazines that they felt were positive to them and started reading them. Their emotions brought them to pick up the magazine and read about the article because they felt comfortable in doing so. They did not care that others did not feel as comfortable as they did, but they were still sociable for they found the situation positive. In another study done by psychologist Carl Jung, participants were given the Jung Type Indicator (JTI) which is a personality quiz. From this study it was found that extroverts take mental processes and look to the external world, while introverts take mental processes and look the internal world. It was also found that introverts scored low on sociability and extroverts high on sociability. Here it is seen that extroverts are in fact more sociable than introverts are.Sociability is not the main factor of being an extrovert, according to a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Instead being rewarded is a major factor. In four studies done, it was found that extroverts find social situations more comfortable than introverts because of the rewards they get. “These rewards include warmth, affection, and close emotional bonds” (APA, 2). If an extrovert feels that they are appreciated and have a close bond with the people in the social setting, then they feel more comfortable being in that situation. Introverts on the other hand do not feel comfortable in a social situation because they are not getting rewarded. They are hiding from the rewards. In studying the behaviors of the participants, those who were extroverts felt more comfortable in the situation because they felt the warmth or the bond with the others in the room. In all of the studies researched everyone has come up with the same conclusions, extroverts are more outgoing, sociable, and comfortable, whereas introverts are more shy, taken back, sensitive, reserved, and uncomfortable to social situations. No one likes to be put into an awkward situation that he/she has no control over. It may seem easier for the extroverts to handle and harder for the introverts but overall we are attracted to those situations that are familiar and comfortable. We need to look at what happens when introverts and extroverts are put into a situation not of their knowing. We need to look at the personality traits of introverts and extroverts and see how their behavior agrees with the typical definition of how introverts and extroverts act. We need to see how their personality traits really work in a given situation. This research will look at the behaviors of these traits and see just if what these researchers say is true. It will look at the behavior of extroverts to see if they do in fact feel comfortable in a social situation and are more sociable. It will show that if introverts are shy and reserved, they will not feel comfortable in a social situation. It will not just show that they are sociable, since we know that already. It will go further to prove that. It will show if extroverts have a more positive outlook on social settings than introverts. It is putting those introverts with those extroverts and observing their behavior. The independent variable is the personality traits, introversion and extroversion. The dependent variable is the behavior the participants portray. Behavior such as talking, walking around, playing with the toy, or reading a magazine was observed. If extroverts are outgoing and talkative, then they will feel comfortable in a small group setting. If introverts are shy and reserved, then they will feel uncomfortable in a small group setting.
METHODParticipants Forty-Six university students, women ages of 18-26 years old participated in the study. All participants were classified as introverts or extroverts based on a personality test. All participants were given course credit (extra points) in the given psychology classes. Participants were recruited through the Psychology Department Subject Pool. They were picked by convenience sampling.
Materials A basic personality test was given to determine which personality each participant had. Questions such as, which one are you closest to:Talkative 1 2 3 4 5 Quiet,were asked (see Appendix). This test measured the five-factor model of personalities, extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness to experience. Each question was added up and scores were tallied. Higher number on extroversion meant the person was an extrovert and low numbers on extroversion meant that the person was an introvert. This was used to determine which personality best fit the person. A behavior checklist was used. Example behavior was talkative, comfortable, energetic, shy, reserved, and uncomfortable. Informed consent form was used as a code sheet where the “accomplice of researcher” recorded the behavior of the participants. These codes were pictures drawn to describe the behavior observed. Pictures such as a smile for comfortable, a chair for playing in chair, the words “blah blah blah” for talking, and legs for getting up and walking around, etc. These codes were drawn on the back of the consent form that the participants can keep for their own records.
Design and Procedure The study was a quasi-experimental design and a single variable between subjects. We looked at personality of introverts and extroverts and the behavior in a given situation. The independent variable was the personality traits introversion and extroversion. Those who were talkative and outgoing were extroverts, and those shy and reserved were introverts. The dependent variable was the behavior that was recorded. The behavior was talking, walking, playing, etc. Participants were picked by convenience sampling. The participants volunteered through the Psychology Department Subject Pool. The participants met at a given location and were taken to the testing room. The participants were given the informed consent form to sign after they were given a brief description of what was going to take place. They were told that a survey would be passed out and then completed, and then after the survey was completed they were told that the researcher had to score them in order to go on with the experiment, so the researcher would step right outside and be back in a few minutes. The survey was completed and the researcher left the room and ten minutes later she returned. While outside of the room the “accomplice of the researcher” observed the behavior of the participants in a controlled situation and wrote down the behavior using codes on her copy of the consent form. The participants were asked to stay in the room while the surveys were being scored. After the ten minutes, the researcher came back into the room and the participants were debriefed and thanked. They were told that the “accomplice of the researcher” was observing their behavior while the researcher was outside of the room. This was to determine how introverts and extroverts reacted in a given social situation. The participants were then free to leave when all questions were answered.
RESULTSA personality survey was given to determine the personality type of each participant. There was no significant relationship between being an extrovert (M=11.5, SD=2.9) and being comfortable (M=1.1, SD=.69) in a social situation (r(44)= -.199, p= .185).
DISCUSSION The original hypothesis, if extroverts are talkative and outgoing then they will be comfortable in a social situation, was not supported. There was no relationship between these two variables. This study needed more subjects in order to enhance the range of introverts and extroverts. More males were also needed so that gender could have been looked at as a variable. The small group setting was not expected to turn out the way it did. The social situation should have been more “social”. Past research shows that when looked at extroverts onscreen they are drawn to those who are like them, those who are also extroverts. My study should have made the participants interact with one another to see if in fact they are drawn to those who are like them. We also see in another study done by psychologist Canli (Cseppento 2001) that extroverts have more brain stimuli when they are looking at positive pictures. They did not feel as though they were being threatened. In another study, Carl Jung (1971) gave the Jung Type Indicator to participants and found that extroverts are more comfortable in a social situation because of the rewards they get. When observing the behaviors of participants, those who were extroverts seemed to be more outgoing because they found it rewarding to be with other people and were given the chance to meet new people. The participants should have had to interact with one another because our personality comes out when we are being physical with others instead of just being left alone with them in a room for minutes at a time. In my study I observed that the participants were almost all comfortable in the situation because they were not being put in the spot and they did not have to interact with anyone on a one-on-one basis. For future research the experiment should be done with social interaction to get the true feeling of the personality of the participants. Gender differences were a major factor in the study too. Because of the over abundance of female students in the psychology classes, I omitted those who were male. I strongly believe that personality differs between males and females. Research in the future should look at the differences between male and female personality because I feel that there is a strong difference in gender and the way we act. The lack of participants was a major let down. In doing my study I saw how hard it was to get participants to stick to their scheduled time, putting some people left in a group alone or too many in a group. In the future it should be a one-time sign up, if you miss your time then that’s too bad and you should not be able to do all three researches. It puts the researcher in an awkward position, like myself, because it is hard to conduct a personality experiment with only one or two people in a group. They have only one other person to talk to.In our everyday lives we are put in situations where we have to interact with others. We know that those who are shy will have a hard time with this, whereas those who are outgoing will feel comfortable having to work with someone they do not know. If I were hiring someone for a job I would look to his or her personality for help. If the job dealt with interacting with people, I would hire the most outgoing person of the candidates because I know they would make the customer feel welcomed and at ease. I would agree with theories that say that those who are more talkative and outgoing are in fact more comfortable in social situations. It has been shown through many studies that those who are extroverts are more talkative and outgoing than those introverts who are shy and reserved. The sample data was consistent with extroverts being more comfortable than introverts though not statistically significant.
REFERENCES American Psychological Association. (2000). Sensitivity to rewards may distinguish extroverts from introverts rather than higher sociability, according to new study. Retrieved November 19, 2001, from http://www.apa.org/releases/extraverts.html
Cseppento, Y. (2001, September 24). The Men`s Guide to Women: Personality Influences Reactions. Retrieved October 17, 2001, from http://www.mojo10.com/viewContent.asp?contentID=252
Ewen, R.B. (1988). An Introduction to theories of personality. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Jung, C. G. (1971). Psychological types (Rev. ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Silverman, L.K. On introversion. Retrieved November 19, 2001, from http://www.gifteddevelopment.com/Articles/On%20Introversion.html
APPENDIXPlease take a few minutes to provide some information about yourself.
Listed below are a set of 15 adjective pairs. For each, select the number along the scale that most closely describes you or your preferences.
1. Quiet 1 2 3 4 5 Talkative 2. Tolerant 1 2 3 4 5 Critical 3. Disorganized 1 2 3 4 5 Organized
4. Tense 1 2 3 4 5 Calm
5. Imaginative 1 2 3 4 5 Conventional
6. Reserved 1 2 3 4 5 Outgoing 7. Uncooperative 1 2 3 4 5 Cooperative
8. Unreliable 1 2 3 4 5 Dependable 9. Insecure 1 2 3 4 5 Secure
10. New 1 2 3 4 5 Familiar 11. Sociable 1 2 3 4 5 Loner
12. Suspicious 1 2 3 4 5 Trusting
13. Undirected 1 2 3 4 5 Goal-Oriented
14. Enthusiastic 1 2 3 4 5 Depressed
15. Change 1 2 3 4 5 Status quo