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April 22, 2021
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Extraversion is one of the five personality traits of the Big Five personality theory. It indicates how outgoing and social a person is.

A person who scores high in extraversion on a personality test is, more often than not, the life of the party. Extraversion is characteristic of exuberant individuals, sociable and energetic, who have no problem getting themselves remarked in a gathering or group of people (social dynamism). They enjoy being with people, participating in social gatherings, and are full of energy.

People who score low on extraversion are perceived as shy, quiet and very formal who usually adopt a passive and reserved attitude (introversion). A person low in extraversion is less outgoing and is more comfortable working by themselves.

Social dynamism versus Introversion

Social dynamism (extraversion) is characterized by breadth of activities (as opposed to depth), surgency from external activity/situations, and energy creation from external means. The trait is marked by pronounced engagement with the external world. Extraverts enjoy interacting with others and are often perceived as full of energy. They tend to be enthusiastic, action-oriented individuals. They possess high group visibility, like to talk, and assert themselves. Extraverted people may appear more dominant in social settings, as opposed to introverted people in this setting.

Introverts have lower social engagement and energy levels than extroverts. They tend to seem quiet, low-key, deliberate, and less involved in the social world. Their lack of social involvement should not be interpreted as shyness or depression; instead, they are more independent of their social world than extroverts. Introverts need less stimulation and more time alone than extroverts. This does not mean that they are unfriendly or antisocial; rather, they are simply reserved in social situations.

Common Extraversion Traits

Each of the Big Five personality traits is made up of six facets or sub traits. These can be assessed independently of the trait that they belong to in a personality test.

The sub traits of the extraversion domain are:

Activity Level

High extraversion characteristics

  • Enjoys being the center of attention
  • Likes to start conversations
  • Enjoys meeting new people
  • Has a wide social circle of friends and acquaintances
  • Finds it easy to make new friends
  • Feels energized when around other people
  • Say things before thinking about them
  • Low extraversion characteristics

    • Prefers solitude
    • Feels exhausted when having to socialize a lot
    • Finds it difficult to start conversations
    • Dislikes making small talk
    • Carefully thinks things through before speaking
    • Dislikes being the center of attention
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    Causes of Extraversion

    The exact reason why people tend to be more extroverted or more introverted has been the subject of considerable debate and research in psychology. As with many such debates, the question tends to boil down to two key contributors: nature or nurture.

    Extroversion clearly has a strong genetic component. Twin studies suggest that genetics contribute somewhere between 40% and 60% of the variance between extroversion and introversion.

    Personality traits are heritable, and genetic variation in the production and uptake of neuromodulators such as dopamine may play some role. Dopamine activity has been experimentally linked to differences in personality traits through various methods. Yet, the relationships between genes regulating dopamine activity and global personality phenotypes have been less than consistent. This may be because a large vector of environmental factors (e.g., parental support, negative life events, resource availability) also affect the development of personality traits, resulting in different phenotypes despite similar genotypes depending on the environmental circumstances. This is commonly termed phenotypic plasticity. Taken one step further, this implies that different genotypes may respond differently to environmental factors, resulting in a pattern of genotype by environmental interactions. Studies have shown that in demanding climates, dopamine genes are linked to Extraversion and Neuroticism traits manifestation.

    On the environmental side, sibling studies published in 2011 have suggested that individual experiences carry greater weight than do shared experiences in families. Also, assortative mating, important in the formation of social attitudes, has little impact on personality. 

    Extraversion and other Big Five Traits


    Careers and extraversion trait

    It has been argued that how a person’s career unfolds is increasingly affected by their own values, personality characteristics, goals and preferences. See what the best-suited careers for the extraversion (and introversion) trait are

    Different jobs require different levels of extraversion. A high level of extraversion may be useful for jobs that require a great deal of interaction with other people, like public relations, social media, teaching and sales. Due to their talkativeness, friendliness and desire to work with and interact with others, extraverted individuals will excel in jobs that involve interactions with others, such as managers, sales personnel or roles in law.

    Extroverts will also excel in management, team leading roles and event planning because they have the ability to negotiate and argue with others. Similarly, due to an extraverts desire and enthusiasm to work with others, they may also excel in social, politics and non-profit roles such as youth or aid work.

    Due to their reserved and withdrawn nature, introverts tend to excel more in individualised and solo work. Introverts often make good scientists because the work is often quiet and solo, or at least in small groups. Similarly, other solo jobs, such as graphic designers or authors, are better suited to introverts because they often do not emphasize socialising.

    However, bad news for introverts – studies have actually shown that extroverts are generally more successful than introverts. Perhaps, this is because an extrovert desires to succeed and interact with others, meaning that they will become popular and thus work their way to the top roles with more ease.

    Extraversion & Introversion Book Recommendations

    Continue expanding your knowledge on the subject of introversion and extraversion traits by reading the best books we have selected for you:  


    Envision your Evolution

    Contemporary psychology

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    Big Five circumplex models of Personality
    Dominant Emotions
    Neuroticism & 

    Future-oriented, he is one of those people who know how to appreciate life and enjoy themselves when positive events occur, without being distracted by the negative ones. He can’t stay mad for a long time; people loving to be around him because of his demonstrated cheerfulness and optimism.

    The optimist

    He is very emotionally involved, switching abruptly from the positive to the negative pole and vice-versa. Relationships with others are tumultuous, frantic because of his intense way of living passionately. Eager to draw attention, he is a thrill-seeker and has difficulties when it comes to controlling emotions.

    The Actor
    The Melancholic

    He is one of those people who tend to see the glass half-empty, almost always focusing on problems and rarely on opportunities. He is not very involved in relationships with others. He frequently feels sad and has no energy and joy for life.

    The Flegmatic

    He usually adopts an attitude of indifference. He is not affected by negative events but also doesn’t know how to enjoy positive outcomes. He is perceived as cold and distant in interpersonal relationships, bringing the rational part rather than the emotional one to the table.


    Big Five circumplex models of Personality
    Human Interaction
    Agreeableness & 

    Prefers giving order to executing them. Frequently takes on a confrontational position when others contest his decision. May adopt bold solutions and, if successful, has a tendency to take all the credit. 

    The Authoritarian

    He likes the company of others, having an easy time establishing new relations and friendships. They frequently become group leaders, being appreciated for their ability to make themselves likeable. Tend to place a greater value on relationships to the detriment of tasks.

    The Popular
    The Competitor

    He prefers to keep a distance from others, rarely initiating contact, even with loved ones. He chooses to work independently, and when it comes to working relationships, he prefers respect over friendship and focusing on the task over focusing on relationships.

    The Understander

    He prefers to execute what he is told to without resistance. He often gives in, which determines others to try to take advantage of his “kindness”. Having a peaceful way of being, he rarely ends up in open confrontations with others.


    Big Five circumplex models of Personality
    Life Orientation
    Openness & 

    He prefers group activities where he can implement solutions that are accepted and valued by society. Manifests a strong interest in everything fashionable. He makes efforts not to be left behind and to climb the social ladder.

    The Pragmatic

    Likes innovative approaches in his ongoing activities. He is always looking for new sensations in which he passionately involves himself but bore him just as fast. He easily stands out and enjoys situations that put the spotlight on him. 

    The Expertimenter
    Openness to Experience
    The Housewife

    He prefers practical activities which he can have on his own or in a familiar context to extravagant social reunions or cultural preoccupations. Changes and risk-taking are both avoided, stability being the keyword.

    The Philosopher

    He seems to be more interested in ideas and internal affective experiences than people. He prefers solitary activities like writing or photographic art. He has a vivid imagination but which frequently remains at the stage of fantasy.


    Big Five circumplex models of Personality
    Task Approach Style
    Conscientiousness & 

    He has difficulties channelling his energy in a clear direction, wasting his forces. He is spontaneous and more efficient in tasks that involve unstructured social interactions than in activities that require a high level of precision and a low level of autonomy.

    The Partylover

    He has entrepreneurial qualities. He knows precisely what he must do, setting himself up with a schedule that he actually follows through. In stressful situations, he tends to force and impose his style on others. He sees obstacles as challenges that, once overcome, lead to more difficult tasks.

    The Initiator
    The Passive

    Taking the initiative comes hard to him, and he mobilizes with great difficulty when confronting deadlines, frequently working at the last minute. He finds it hard to be enthusiastic and usually adopts a passive attitude of indifference. In teamwork, he rarely contributes with interventions and frequently falls behind.

    The Cautious

    He likes to work in his own rhythm, a bit slower. If he is not hurried, he does not have any problems with deadlines as long as they are known in advance and not arbitrarily modified. On the other hand, when facing changes, he adapts rather slow to the newly created context.