Today I saw this in Andrew Sullivan’s blog. It’s not the first time he’s talked about it–and he’s not pushing any particular viewpoint–and his place is not the only one that I’ve seen the discourse about it.
After going to read the original document that he cites–the “Extraversion and Happiness” by Pavot–which you can find here if you don’t have access to Science Direct Articles without paying–a few things occurred to me.
First, I guess it should not be surprising that people find extraverts to be happier than introverts–when you define “happiness” in a pretty extraverted way–namely that happiness==positive affect==being cheerful.
I will totally stipulate that there will be higher correlations between extraversion and cheerfulness/boisterousness than with introversion and the same.
On the other hand–I tend to understand happiness in the Aristotelian sense–namely that “being happy” is not about pleasure, joy, or cheer–but about the sense of fulfillment that comes from fulfilling your life goals. Thus–while I may not be smiling or chatty at times–but instead may be slogging away writing a paper–I can be happy because I am getting shit done. In such situations–I would not describe what I was doing as “enjoyable” or even “pleasant”–two terms that are used in the study above to designate “positive affect==happiness”–but I would, internally, find myself being happy and achieving my happiness, because I was–in a long term sense–accomplishing my goals.
Now–perhaps that is biased towards introverts–as it probably requires a good amount of introspection to know what such goals are and to adequately measure their progress..
In which case–the question of “who’s happier–introverts or extraverts?” really may be a case of comparing apples to oranges.. because with differing understandings of what happiness actually is–what you are measuring may only be one half of the story.
Anyway.. just a quick thought that I wanted to get down.. since I don’t write here enough..
Hopefully–later today or tomorrow–I can write about that thought I had on the etymological weirdness of “being liked” and then maybe get to write that other thought about modeling introversion and extraversion in three dimensions–while tying it to the aspects of propagation and consolidation that I’ve spoken about before. (These are reminders for me to get back to these thoughts and not forget them!)