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Noon Edition

Acting Like An Introvert

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Y:        Finally, it’s Friday. What are your plans for the weekend, Don?

D:        I think I’m going to take it easy. Stay at home, read some books, maybe see a movie in the theater.  

Y:        Want some company for the movie?

D:        That’s okay. I’m in the mood for some introvert time. Nothing wrong with spending some time by yourself. 

Y:        No, but researchers found something interesting about introverts recently: a study show that if introverts act like extroverts, it increases their well-being. For one week, 131 college student participants were asked to act like extroverts. For the purpose of the study, researchers defined extroverted characteristics as talkative, assertive, and spontaneous, and introverted characteristics as deliberate, quiet, and reserved—they tried to keep the descriptions as neutral as possible. Researchers told participants that previous studies showed that both sets of behaviors were helpful to college students. One group of participants was told to behave as extroverted as they could, and the other group was told to act as introverted as they could. After a week, the “act extroverted” and “act introverted” groups switched. Participants were reminded of the behaviors they were supposed to exhibit in emails three times a week. After the study, participants took a survey that measured well-being. Overall, the participants reported an increase in well-being after the “act extroverted week” and a decrease in well-being after the “act introverted” week. None reported any discomfort or negative effects from being told to act extroverted.

D:        You know, maybe it would be fun to see the movie together.

Y:        Great! Thanks for the invitation—you’re buying the tickets, right?

D:        Was this your plan all along?

Friends eating together.

A recent study forced introverts to act more like extroverts and be more social. (Wikimedia Commons)

When making plans for the weekend, some people like to be by themselves, while others prefer to be go out and be social. To learn more about these two types of people, sometimes called introverts and extroverts, researchers tried to see what would happen if one type tried to act like the other.

The study showed that if introverts act like extroverts, it increases their well-being. For one week, 131 college student participants were asked to act like extroverts. For the purpose of the study, researchers defined extroverted characteristics as talkative, assertive and spontaneous, and introverted characteristics as deliberate, quiet, and reserved. They tried to keep the descriptions as neutral as possible.

Researchers told participants that previous studies showed that both sets of behaviors were helpful to college students. One group of participants was told to behave as extroverted as they could, and the other group was told to act as introverted as they could. 

After a week, the "act extroverted" and "act introverted" groups switched. Participants were reminded of the behaviors they were supposed to exhibit in emails three times a week. After the study, participants reported an increase in well-being after the "act extroverted week" and a decrease in well-being after the "act introverted" week. None reported any discomfort or negative effects from being told act extroverted.

 

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