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By Eric Barker
November 15, 2014
IDEAS
Barker is the author of Barking Up The Wrong Tree

In the US, it’s always seemed like the answer was “extrovert.” Being social is lauded and most people seem skeptical of all that skulking about that introverts do.

There’s no doubt research has shown a number of advantages to being a people person.

Plenty of studies say extroverts are happier:

What happens when you take an introvert and make them act like an extrovert? They get happier:

That’s some pretty eye-opening evidence. (But, to be fair, those chatty extroverts are much better at PR, so let’s reserve judgment for the time being.)

Other research shows there may be a connection between extraversion and intelligence but that’s been debated. On the other hand, what predicts college grades better than IQ? Being an introvert.

Via Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking:

Need a top expert in a field? Might not want to pick that outgoing fellow.

Via Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking:

What about more social areas of expertise, like leadership? It definitely gets more complex. Extroverts are better leaders of passive employees, introverts shine with proactive workers:

Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking sticks up for introverts in her TED talk:

Overall, I doubt there’s a clear “better” between introverts and extroverts. They both have strengths and weaknesses, which we’re learning more about every day.

Here are a few more interesting tidbits:

  1. You can generally trust your gut when trying to determine how introverted/extroverted someone is. Faces, handshakes and Facebook profiles are all accurate predictors.
  2. Taste in music is predictive of personality. Enjoy upbeat and conventional tunes? You’re probably an extrovert.
  3. Dog person or cat person? Dog people are 15% more extroverted.
  4. Are you a morning person? They’re often introverts.
  5. Extraversion and introversion predict what sex acts people are interested in.

Me? I remember taking a personality test in college and blowing away the instructors with my introversion score. They were curious to learn more about me but, unsurprisingly, I had little interest in talking with them.

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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