Are extroverts happier than introverts? (A complete guide)

In this article, we will answer the question ‘Are extroverts happier than introverts?’. We will do that by describing extroverts and introverts. This will follow up with scientific evidence for happiness rates across extroverts and introverts. Finally, we will discuss scientific reasons for why extroverts are happier than introverts.  

Are extroverts happier than introverts? 

Yes. Extroverts are happier than introverts. This can be due to multiple reasons. Biological reasons include extroverts having a shorter stimulation pathway, higher sensitivity to rewards, strong mood regulation ability, the genetic component of extroversion, and recalling their past in a positive light. Social or cultural reasons include an extrovert’s tendency to engage in socialization and exciting experiences, having clarity in what they want, being more action-oriented and society’s positive attitude towards extrovert traits compared to introverts.

Extroverts and introverts

Extroverts and introverts are often considered opposite to each other due to their different traits. Extroverts are people who gain energy by interacting with a lot of people. They prefer to spend their time socializing and having different experiences. They are talkers rather than listeners.   Spending time alone at home while engaging in the same activities can be quite draining for them. 

 In contrast,  introverts are people who get energy by spending time alone. they like to socialize with only a few people with whom they are familiar and comfortable. They are not open to new and risky experiences. Rather, they prefer to be around familiar settings and familiar people. For them, spending time with a lot of people can be quite exhausting.

Happiness: Extroverts vs Introverts

It has been often debated whether extroverts are better than introverts and vice versa. Although all individuals are unique and special in their own way,  it is possible that both extroverts and introverts can learn from each other to overcome traits that they are lacking.

 According to Susan Cain,  our world is dominated by extroverts and these people are in an advantageous position because the corporal world demands traits that only extroverts have. In contrast, introverts and their virtues are largely ignored.  To survive and thrive in this world, it is important for introverts to learn how to act extraverted in order to fulfill the environmental demands being made of them.

 Recently, it has been questioned who is happier between an extrovert and an introvert.  In order to find this,  various studies have been conducted.  A research by Seth Margolis indicated that acting like an extrovert is beneficial for the well-being of both extroverts and introverts.

 Furthermore,  Lyubomirsky and Margolis conducted a study on undergraduate students.  They asked them to behave in a certain way for one week .one group of students had to act more talkative spontaneous and assertive. Whereas, the other group had to act more quiet, reserved, and deliberate.  At the end of the week, both groups were assessed again and their baseline was established. They reversed their roles in the second week and took the assessment again. The results indicated that acting like an introvert did not have any effect on the well-being of the students. In contrast,  acting like an extrovert was beneficial for well being of both students. They experienced more positive emotions and felt more socially connected. 

 The findings of this research support the idea that extroverts are possibly happier than introverts.  A possible explanation for this is that the energetic and outspoken qualities of extroverts are rewarded and valued by our society. This can act as a boost for increasing their well-being and overall happiness.

A study by  Dianne Vella-Brodrick added to these findings.  She explained that introverts who were more accepting of themselves were quite content. 

Lyubomirsky and Margolis’s findings were explained through this as they added that introverts who were more attracted to being extroverted had higher well-being compared to other introverts.  

An additional factor for these results can be that humans are social animals.  So, talking to people and finding a connection can be a meaningful experience for both extroverts and introverts.  In addition to that, being extroverted directs people into being bold and assertive in their self-expression.  This makes them feel like they are making a difference in the world and add to their happiness and overall well-being. 

Reasons why Extroverts are happier than introverts

Extroverts usually have higher scores on scales of happiness. There can be multiple explanations behind this.  A few of them are stated as follows:

Extroverts have a higher responsiveness to rewards

 Extroverts are more responsive to rewards compared to introverts.  Accordingly,  their happiness rate is higher.  This idea was proposed by Gray (1982) and Larsen & Keetlar (1991).  Both of them suggested that extroverts have a more positive reaction to certain situations in contrast to people who are more neurotic.  These people are more responsive to punishment and are less happy.  So in other words,  being rewarded by something can make extroverts happy more quickly compared to an introvert.

Extroverts are into Socialization and having enjoyable experiences

 Extroverts engage in new experiences and do more things that are enjoyable.  Compared to them,  introverts would prefer to stay in their comfort zone and do not engage in new experiences that can be exciting.  This explains why an extrovert who goes to different parties and meets a lot of people can be happier than an introvert. 

Extroverts have a strong mood regulation ability

 Extroverts have good control of their moods. They have a grip on regulating their positive and negative emotions. So an extrovert would be quicker to shift from a negative mood to a more positive mood. Furthermore,  they are also able to maintain such a mood for a longer time.  In contrast,  an introvert may take longer to get over their negative emotions.  In short, an extrovert can be easier to please and stay happy for greater durations compared to an introvert.

Extroversion is inherited

 There is an evolutionary advantage for extroverts for having their traits.  Many extroverts get their extraversion from their parents.  This places them in a beneficial position to be happier in contrast to introverts.

Extroverts recall the past in a positive light

 Extroverts have a tendency to remember their past in a positive and optimistic light. They have a strange nostalgic feeling while recalling their memories.  So, they are also more likely to remember Golden or positive memories and less likely to remember negative ones.  They don’t let their past affect their thoughts in a negative way or nor do they hold onto regrets for a long time.

 In contrast to them,  people who are more neurotic keep a negative perception of their past and are more likely to recall negative memories. They also hold onto past regrets and let that affect their present and future.

Extroverts have a shorter stimulation pathway

The pathway in our brain that acts as a source of stimulation is shorter in extroverts. Dopamine gets released when we are presented with a reward like food, approval, sex, and promotion. The extroverted brain responds strongly to dopamine release and is more likely to be happy as a result. In comparison, an introvert has a longer stimulation pathway and it takes longer for their brains to release dopamine,  explaining why extroverts are happier than introverts.

The difference in Extroversion across Cultures

 Another reason can be that extroversion and introversion varies across cultures. Studies have shown that different cultures have different definitions and behavior linked to extroversion.  Consequently,  how they are celebrated and rewarded may also vary.  This can also explain a difference in the happiness rates of extroverts and introverts.

Extroverts have Clarity in what they want

Extroverts are aware of what makes them happy. Biologically, they are more clear about what things are rewarding for them and how to achieve that.  This can include social interactions, creating art, or doing exercise. In comparison,   an introvert may not be that clear about what they like and what they don’t like.  As a result,  they would not know how to experience enjoyment and get a sense of being rewarded as effectively as an extrovert does.

Extroverts are action-oriented and have a higher drive

Extroverts seek what makes them happy without being afraid of the consequences and what others may think of them. In contrast, introverts are not that driven since there are afraid of consequences and have less drive for receiving rewards from situations.

FAQs: Are extroverts happier than introverts?

Are introverts happier?

Introverts have lower ratings on the happiness scales compared to extroverts but this does not mean they are unhappy. 

What do introverts hate?

Introverts do not hate people. They only prefer to have alone time rather than socializing with people.

What are the strengths of introverts?

Introverts are more empathetic and insightful. They are good listeners and are self-motivated. They are thinkers and introspective. They make food writers and they are driven to please others. 

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question ‘Are extroverts happier than introverts?’. We found that Yes. Extroverts are happier than introverts. This can be due to multiple reasons. Biological reasons include extroverts having a shorter stimulation pathway, higher sensitivity to rewards, strong mood regulation ability, the genetic component of extroversion, and recalling their past in a positive light. Social or cultural reasons include an extrovert’s tendency to engage in socialization and exciting experiences, having clarity in what they want, being more action-oriented and society’s positive attitude towards extrovert traits compared to introverts.

 I hope you found this article interesting. If you have any queries or comments, please state them in the comment section 😊

Citations

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/quiet-disadvantage-study-finds-extroverts-are-happier-even-when-theyre-really-introverts/#:~:text=Quiet%20Disadvantage%3A%20Study%20Finds%20Extroverts%20Are%20Happier%E2%80%94Even,When%20They’re%20Really%20Introverts&text=Introverts%20have%20been%20having%20their%20moment.&text=%E2%80%9CThere%20are%20benefits%20of%20introversion,shows%20that%20extroverts%20are%20happier.%E2%80%9D

https://www.truity.com/blog/5-reasons-extroverts-are-happier

Divya is currently a Clinical Psychology Trainee in a Master of Philosophy program and holds a Master’s in clinical psychology. She has a special interest in Personality studies and disorders, having researched the subject before, and Neuropsychology; with an additional interest being Mood disorders. She likes to write about Psychiatric issues, having worked in multiple specialty setups during her time as a clinical psychology student, and in her free time she likes to cook and read.

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