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Extraversion (Extravert) Personality Trait in Psychology: Definition, Benefits, Examples 

By:
Jesus Carmona Sanchez, PhD
|
Reviewed by:
Alexander Tokarev, PhD
What is Extroversion in Psychology - PSYCULATOR
Brooke Cagle | unsplash.com

What is Extraversion? (A Definition)

In most of the discussions about personality, you will hear the term extraversion. But what does extraversion mean? The essence behind extraversion is that energy is projected externally.

Those with extraverted personality traits are the archetypal social butterflies: They like human interaction, enjoy seeing new faces, and are often the initiators in group activities. However, extroversion is not just about having fun at parties. With regards to this personality dimension, a person can see it affect different dimensions of their life experiences including making decisions, building social networks, or even relaxing their minds.

Most people see extroverts as friendly and optimistic and they are what many people wish to be. It becomes easy for an extrovert to engage people in a queuesqueue, join any club quickly, or speak publicly. It's important to note the difference between extroversion and introversion.

The definition of extraversion in psychology can be pinpointed to the fact that social events energize extroverts while introverts find peace in silence. It is important to note that Introverts are not afraid to socialize; they simply find alone time more comfortable and do not naturally need as much social stimulation.

With regard to personality psychology, this is a critical aspect that explains how people interact with their environment.

Extroversion vs Extraversion

Extrovert and extraversion are commonly mentioned when talking about personality traits. While they may seem different, they are essentially the same concept with varied spellings.

The term "extraversion" was originally coined by Carl Jung, a pioneer in personality psychology. Over time, "extroversion" has become more commonplace in everyday language.

Despite the difference in spelling, both terms refer to a personality trait characterized by an outward orientation of energy and a preference for social interaction. Nowadays, both spellings are acceptable.

Extroversion As a Big Five Personality Trait

Extroversion has been an important construct in personality psychology, especially as defined in the Big Five personality traits model (Costa & McCrae, 1992).

This model, often abbreviated by the acronym OCEAN, represents five core dimensions of personality which include

However, the Big Five Extraversion dimension is not an individual trait. There are six components of Extraversion. The Big Five traits of Extraversion include gregariousness, assertiveness, excitement-seeking, warmth, activity, and positive emotions.

Altogether, these qualities represent a combination of different behaviors, feelings, and beliefs that define how people relate to the other members of the community. The presence of this characteristic varies in social ability, aggressiveness, and enthusiasm.

Individuals who are extraverted are usually found in public relations and being involved in large social networks, reflecting their innate preference for social aspects of life.

The Big Five” model is one of the most central constructs within personality theory and it applies a descriptive dimension to classify these characteristics. Extroversion here is not just about being the center of attention; it's about how individuals channel their energy, either outwardly towards people and activities or inwardly.

Individuals who possess this trait tend to show extroversion characteristics such as having a positive attitude, an energetic disposition while interacting with other people, and being attracted by external impulses among others.

Moreover, the variance between extroversion and introversion in this model is seen as a continuum. It's influenced by a combination of factors, including genetic components and life experiences. This continuum aspect highlights that extroversion is not a fixed point but a dynamic domain of personality that reflects an individual's flexible reactions to a given situation in time.

Furthermore, personality psychologists argue that high or low extraversion may influence a persons career. Analyzing where a worker stands on the extraversion dimension is vital in job prediction and satisfaction.

Causes of Extroversion

Understanding the origins of extroversion involves exploring a blend of genetic factors, environmental influences, and individual psychological development.

Genetic Foundations

Research on twins suggests that genetics account for approximately 40-60% of the variance in extroverted traits, indicating a significant hereditary component (Koenig, 2020). This implies that the propensity for extroversion can be passed down through generations.

Environmental Impact

The environment in which one grows plays a pivotal role in shaping extroverted behaviors. Family life, cultural norms, and the extent of social engagement are all influential. Environments that encourage large amounts of social interaction can nurture extroverted qualities (Eaton, & Funder, 2003).

Psychological Factors

Theories, such as those proposed by Carl Jung, emphasize that extroversion is characterized by an outward projection of energy. This personality aspect can evolve, influenced by personal experiences and psychological growth.

Influence of Social Networks

Active social networks can support extroverted behavior. Engaging regularly in social settings can reinforce and amplify extroverted characteristics, leading to the development of a more extraverted personality.

However, research shows that extroverts are not emotionally closer to individuals in their network compared to introverts (Pollet, Roberts, & Dunbar, 2011). These results highlight the importance of considering not just social network size, but also the quality of relationships with network members.

Interplay of Nature and Nurture

Extroversion has emerged dynamically through genetics and the environment. That implies that extroversion is an open-ended trait that can change as one grows. Essentially, the causes underlying extroversion involve an interplay of inheritance, environment, and psychologically induced factors that develop into this unique personality trait.

Examples of Extroversion

Extroverted individuals are often the center of attention in social settings. They thrive in environments where interaction is key, such as networking events or team-based projects.

For instance, an extrovert may start greeting people at an event, participate in group discussions, take part in their campaigns, or even lead a PR campaign. They usually possess a wide social network reflecting their ease in forming connections.

Benefits of Extroversion

Extraversion, as one of the Big Five personality traits, is associated with several positive outcomes. Some major positive correlates of extraversion include:

Social Competence

Extraverts tend to be outgoing, friendly, and comfortable in social situations. They often exhibit strong social skills and find it easier to initiate and maintain relationships (Soto & John, 2017).

Leadership Qualities

Extraverts are often seen as assertive, confident, and persuasive, making them well-suited for leadership roles. They tend to be effective communicators and are comfortable taking charge in group settings (Judge, Bono, Ilies, & Gerhardt, 2002).

Adaptability

Extraverts are often adaptable and open to new experiences. They may be more willing to take risks, try new activities, and explore unfamiliar environments (DeNeve, & Cooper, 1998).

Networking and Relationship Building

Due to their sociable nature, extroverts tend to excel in networking and relationship-building. They often have a wide circle of friends and acquaintances (Graziano, Habashi, Sheese, & Tobin, 2007).

Team Collaboration

Extraverts thrive in collaborative environments. They contribute to team dynamics by promoting communication, fostering a positive atmosphere, and encouraging group cohesion (Barrick, Stewart, Neubert, & Mount, 1998).

High Activity Level

Extraverts often have a high level of energy and enjoy being involved in various activities. They may be more inclined to seek out and engage in stimulating experiences (Zelenski, Santoro, & Whelan, 2012).

Positive Emotions

Extraverts generally experience and express positive emotions more readily than introverts. They often exhibit enthusiasm, optimism, and a high level of energy (Lucas & Diener, 2008).

Optimism

Extraverts generally have an optimistic outlook on life. Their positive attitude can contribute to resilience in the face of challenges and a more positive overall mental well-being. It's important to note that while extraversion is associated with these positive traits, individual variations exist, and personality is a complex and multifaceted construct. Additionally, cultural and situational factors can influence how extraversion manifests in different contexts (Steel, Schmidt, & Shultz, 2008).

How to Become More Extroverted

Transforming into a more extroverted individual involves understanding and gradually adjusting your levels of extraversion. This change isn't just about altering social behaviors; it's a deeper journey into your human personality. Here are some steps to guide this transformation:

Expand Your Social Network

Start by gradually increasing your social interactions. Attend events that align with your interests, fostering connections that feel natural and enjoyable.

Engage in Public Relations Activities

Participate in community events or volunteer opportunities. These activities can boost your confidence in public settings and enhance your positive outlook.

Utilize Personality Assessments

Reliable tools such as our free Big Five personality test can offer deep insights into your personality traits, helping you understand your current level of extraversion and areas for growth.

Learn from Extroverted Role Models

Observe and learn from individuals who embody extroverted personality traits. Notice how they interact, engage in conversations, and maintain their energy in social settings.

Embrace a Positive Outlook

Cultivating a positive mindset can significantly impact your journey. Approach new social situations with enthusiasm and openness.

Consult Personality Psychologists

If needed, seek guidance from professionals who specialize in human personality. They can provide personalized strategies and support your development.

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