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What is the Big Five personality trait: Extraversion?

Extraversion, a Big Five personality test trait, is identified by qualities like excitability, sociability, talkativeness, assertiveness, and emotional expressiveness. Extroverts are energized by social interactions, finding excitement and energy in being around others. In contrast, introverts, who score low on this trait, are more reserved and find social settings energy-draining, often needing solitude to recharge.

Extraversion encompasses warmth and enthusiasm in social situations, as well as a tendency towards assertiveness and seeking new experiences. Extroverts are often seen as the life of the party, engaging more in conversation and leading group activities. Research links extraversion to positive life outcomes, suggesting extroverts tend to be happier, more successful, and more likely to be leaders compared to introverts. However, this doesn't imply that being extroverted is inherently "better." Both introversion and extraversion have their advantages and disadvantages. Recent studies suggest that ambiverts, who fall in the middle of the introversion-extroversion spectrum, may enjoy benefits from both extremes, potentially leading to better overall outcomes.

The science of Extraversion

Extraversion, characterized by traits like talkativeness, energy, assertiveness, and being outgoing, places a strong emphasis on social interaction, often leading extraverts to take on leadership roles and be the first to voice opinions and suggestions.

The science behind the Big Five personality trait of Extraversion is rooted in decades of psychological research and theory. Extraversion, characterized by sociability, assertiveness, and high energy levels, has been extensively studied and validated across various cultures and methodologies. Pioneering work by Costa and McCrae in the 1980s, particularly their development of the NEO Personality Inventory, provided a robust framework for measuring Extraversion alongside the other Big Five traits (Costa & McCrae, 1992). This research aligns with Eysenck's earlier biosocial theory of personality, which proposed biological underpinnings for extraverted behaviors, suggesting that extraverts have a lower baseline of arousal and thus seek external stimulation (Eysenck, 1967). Furthermore, studies utilizing the Big Five have consistently linked Extraversion to positive life outcomes, such as happiness and career success (Digman, 1990; John, Naumann, & Soto, 2008). Recent advancements in neuroimaging and genetics have begun to explore the neurological and genetic correlates of Extraversion, offering a more nuanced understanding of its biological basis (DeYoung, 2010; Canli, 2008). This body of work collectively underscores Extraversion's significance as a stable, heritable, and culturally universal dimension of human personality.

The role of extraversion in the workplace has sparked considerable debate in Western business circles. Popular literature often highlights the work-related benefits of being extraverted. For instance, Susan Cain in her bestselling book "Quiet" (2013) criticizes the societal overemphasis on extraversion in the U.S., suggesting that introversion is unfairly deemed inferior. Bloomberg Businessweek advised readers to "release your inner extravert" since introverts can find it challenging to progress in large organizations (Welch, 2008). Additionally, the Society for Human Resource Management recommended strategies for managers to support introverted employees, like allowing breaks from intense office environments (RoAne, 2017). This suggests a view of introversion as a hindrance needing accommodation. Contrarily, other sources argue that introversion offers competitive advantages, such as better listening skills and focus, while also pointing out the drawbacks of extraversion, like difficulty working alone (Hall, 2016; Laney, 2002; Cain, 2013). Forbes even highlighted successful introverts, illustrating that introversion can also lead to career success (Morgan, 2015).

Which Big Five personality test facets measure Extraversion?

The Big Five personality test measures 34 personality facets that are linked to the Big Five personality traits. The facets that measure Extraversion are:

  • 1. Networking - Focused on making new contacts, finds networking important
  • 2. Sociable - Likes to talk and likes to be around people 
  • 3. Socially bold - Likes to give presentations and is at ease with large groups of new people 
  • 4. Convincing - Likes to negotiate and is convincing 
  • 5. Action focused - Likes to be in busy environments and is able to do multiple things at the same time

TestGroup's tests & online assessments

TestGroup is the developer of the Bridge assessment instruments, which are high-quality, scientific tests that are applied all over the world. All Bridge instruments have been developed by TestGroup in collaboration with universities in the Netherlands and abroad. TestGroup specializes in predicting work behavior with personality questionnaires, career tests, and intelligence tests. We advise local and international organizations on the application of online assessments.

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