Do extroverts live longer? (A Complete Guide)

In this article, we will discuss Do extroverts live longer?. We will do that by discussing extroverts and introverts. We will then discuss various researches with their findings done on extroversion and it’s link with a long life.

Do extroverts live longer? 

Yes. It is highly possible that extroverts live a longer life as studies done longevity to support the idea that people with outgoing, social, optimistic, and easygoing attitude are more likely to live longer. However, it does not mean being introverted means being bound to live less. It only points to the idea that positivity and a resilient attitude adds to overall psychological well being which is ultimately essential for a fulfilling life. 

Extroverts vs Introverts

Extroverts can be defined as people who have an external orientation towards the world. These people get energy by spending their time among large groups of people and engaging in different experiences. Huge crowds, loud music, and energetic people charge their energy. These people also process information better by talking about it with other people. However, being alone and without much activity can actually drain these people. They may feel low and inspired in absence of socialization. In other words, extroverts are the opposite of introverts.

Introverts on the other hand gain energy by being alone and connecting to themself. They process information better by processing it in their mind.  They do not take many risks or like to engage in different experiences. Their preference is to stay around familiarity. Being around a lot of people, crowds and loud music can overstimulate them and they may lose their energy.

Extroversion and its relationship with longevity

Researchers have been long interested in factors that contribute to a long life.  Especially the psychological factors that play a role in adding years to a person’s life.  Among these,  personality traits,  particularly extroversion has been a point of interest.  The most frequent question asked is whether extroverts live a long life.  In order to answer this question,  we are going to look at a number of studies conducted over the past few years and look at their findings. 

Findings of studies on longevity and psychological traits 

A recent study in 2012 has shown that people who are outgoing and positive in nature, may live a longer and happier life. This indicates that people who enjoy life and engage in multiple activities stay young. 

The study was done by Albert Einstein, College of Medicine’s Longevity Genes Project, on jews between ages 95 and older along with 700 of their kids. Members who lived a long life were compared at the genetic level. Apart from biological reasons especially genes for cellular repair mechanisms, there were psychological reasons as well. They measured their shyness and openness to experience. It was found that those people were predominantly laid-back and optimistic. They often laughed and expressed their emotions openly. Furthermore, their scores were quite low for neurotic traits. The researcher of this project Nir Brazilai said,
When I started working with centenarians, I thought we’d find that they survived so long in part because they were mean and ornery but when we assessed the personalities of these 243 centenarians, we found qualities that clearly reflect a positive attitude towards life.”
He further added, “Some evidence indicates that personality can change between the ages of 70 and 100, so we don’t know whether our centenarians have maintained their personality traits across their entire life spans, Nevertheless, our findings suggest that centenarians share particular personality traits and that genetically-based aspects of personality may play an important role in achieving both good health and exceptional longevity.”

In the year 1930, a head nun asked the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to write their autobiography and describe important events of their life and how they affected them. 70 years later, the University of Kentucky found out how long the 180 nuns had lived. It was beneficial to conduct this study on nuns because they had similar lifestyle factors including the same living conditions, similar health care, same coping mechanisms, and tendencies. All this indicating that they lived similar lives. The researchers discovered that those who had a positive outlook towards their personal experiences lived a longer life. 

Psychologists have found that by using the big five personalities e.g. openness to experience, agreeableness, extraversion, neuroticism, and conscientiousness; they could measure personality in a much comprehensive way. It was realized that personality predicted how long a person lived. 

 A study on Hawaiian students was done using the big five personality dimensions and the results indicated that a few personality traits correlated with chronic illnesses including alcohol consumption and smoking. Students who were high in conscientiousness,  lived up to be healthy adults by middle age.   So, we can say that conscientiousness matters a lot for determining how long a person lives. This includes being goal-directed, orderly, and intuitive.  These people try to live by the rules, are usually high scorers in their college and ultimately get better jobs and better health care.

With regard to other personality dimensions, neuroticism may be related to poor ability to manage the stresses of life. Whereas, extroversion was related to a higher tendency to seek support in times of need and vulnerability to engaging in risky behavior. Agreeableness on the other hand is related to whether a person sees the world as a  place that can be trusted.  Such people have good relationships. Finally, openness to experience can be good or bad for a person depending on how it is utilized in daily life.

 Using these personality traits as a foundation, studies have been conducted on people living up to the age of hundred years, in Australia, Tokyo, Sweden, and Georgia. The results indicate that people who live the longest lives are usually emotionally stable, low on neuroticism,  high in conscientiousness, and high in extraversion. So, we can say that such a combination of traits can be useful for a person in adding years to their life.

Studies conducted on animals particularly gorillas support earlier findings that extroverts live a longer life compared to introverts. An international study was conducted on 298 gorillas in the North American zoo. Their personality was studied for a period of 18 years.  Data about their personality was collected from caretakers and researchers who knew them well. It was also studied by adapting techniques used for studying the personalities of humans. The results indicated that gorillas who had a social and outgoing personality lived a longer life compared to their introverted counterparts.

These findings highlight how understanding the natural history of personality is vital to ensuring the continued health and well-being of humans, gorillas and other great apes,” Dr. Alex Weiss from the School of Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences.

 They also found that extraversion, neuroticism, dominance, and agreeableness from the big five personalities were associated with the longest survival in the form of sociability, inquisitiveness, and activity.  These findings were independent of age,  gender,  change in location, or uprearing conditions of gorillas.

Based on the findings stated above extroversion has been linked with longer life. However,  being an introvert does not mean one is doomed to live a shorter life. It only indicates that staying positive and jumping back from negative experiences, can be good for a person’s well being.

FAQs: Do extroverts live longer?

What personality type lives the longest?

People who are high in conscientiousness live the longest lives. Similarly, in MBTI, those who are type Js live longer than type Ps.

Does personality affect the longevity?

Yes. A new study suggests that personality traits play a role in longevity. However, since personality changes throughout life, other factors also play a role in reducing mortality risk.

How do I add years to my life?

One can add years to their life by living a low-risk lifestyle. Keeping a healthy diet, regular exercise, healthy body weight, limited alcohol intake, and no smoking can play a role in increasing overall life expectancy.

Are extroverts more successful than introverts? 

There are no studies that suggest that extroverts are more successful than introverts. Extroverts do, however, offer certain advantages over introverts in their workplace. They show more proactive behavior, are energetic, and less likely to experience burnout. They also take risks and are not afraid of making mistakes. They are motivated by rewards and continue to work in a determined manner towards their goals. At the same, time introverts offer their own advantages as well.

Conclusion

In this article, we discussed Do extroverts live longer?. We found that It is highly possible that extroverts live a longer life as studies done longevity to support the idea that people with outgoing, social, optimistic, and easygoing attitude are more likely to live longer. However, it does not mean being introverted means being bound to live less. It only points to the idea that positivity and a resilient attitude adds to overall psychological well being which is ultimately essential for a fulfilling life. 

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

Citations

nbcnews.com/health/body-odd/extroverts-live-longer-study-centenarians-suggests-flna801319

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/sep/22/lifespan-influenced-personality-socioeconomic-study

http://archive.indianexpress.com/news/extrovert-people-may-live-longer-study/1041358/

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.