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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2001 Aug;81(2):343-56.

Understanding extraverts' enjoyment of social situations: the importance of pleasantness.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 61820, USA.


Extraversion is a broad, multifaceted trait, yet researchers are still unsure of its defining characteristics. One possibility is that the essential feature of extraversion is the tendency to enjoy social situations. An alternative possibility is that extraversion represents sensitivity to rewards and the tendency to experience pleasant affect. In three studies, participants rated situations that varied on two dimensions: (a) whether they were social or nonsocial and (b) whether they were very pleasant, moderately pleasant, moderately unpleasant, or very unpleasant. Extraverts only rated social situations more positively than introverts did when the situations were pleasant, and extraverts also rated nonsocial situations more positively than introverts did if the situations were pleasant. Thus, the pleasantness of situations was more important than whether they were social or nonsocial in determining extraverts' and introverts' enjoyment.

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