Extroverts are individuals who are typically outgoing, friendly, and who appear to be open toward others.
Extroverts are people who are often leaders, work well in groups, and prefer being with others to being alone. Other personality traits associated with extroversion include optimism, risk taking, and love of excitement and change. People who are extroverts prefer having company to being alone and tend to have many friends.
Extroversion is generally defined in comparison to its opposite, introversion, which is used to describe people who are quieter, more reserved and sensitive, and more comfortable in solitary pursuits. The two tendencies can be regarded as opposite ends of a continuum, with most people falling somewhere in between. Nevertheless, many people have traits that clearly place them closer to one end than to the other. Both extroversion and introversion are thought to be primarily due to inborn tendencies. These tendencies form what is called temperament, which may be influenced by environmental factors. The psychologist Hans Eysenck (1916–97) suggested that the temperamental foundation involves the ease with which the cerebral cortex becomes aroused. Eysenck noted that in introverts, some parts of the brain are particularly sensitive to arousal and are easily overstimulated, causing them to prefer quiet surroundings and calm situations. The extrovert can tolerate a higher level of cortical arousal, leading him to seek out social interaction and exciting situations for stimulation.
Tendencies toward extroversion or introversion often lead people to develop and cultivate contrasting strengths, sometimes referred to in terms of differing types of intelligence. Extroverts more readily develop inter personal intelligence, which refers to making friends easily, demonstrating leadership ability, and working effectively with others in groups. In introverts, the more highly developed traits tend to be those associated with intra personal intelligence, such as the deeper awareness of one's feelings and the ability to enjoy extended periods of solitude. All people have both types of intelligence, but in many people one is more dominant than the other, depending on whether they are more aligned with extroversion or introversion.
See also Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation ; Introversion ; Jung, Carl; Personality .
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