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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2001 Feb;80(2):294-310.

Why introverts can't always tell who likes them: multitasking and nonverbal decoding.

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Department of Psychology, Harvard University, USA.


Despite personality theories suggesting that extraversion correlates with social skill, most studies have not found a positive correlation between extraversion and nonverbal decoding. The authors propose that introverts are less able to multitask and thus are poorer at nonverbal decoding, but only when it is a secondary task. Prior research has uniformly extracted the nonverbal decoding from its multitasking context and, consequently, never tested this hypothesis. In Studies 1-3, introverts exhibited a nonverbal decoding deficit, relative to extraverts, but only when decoding was a secondary rather than a primary task within a multitasking context. In Study 4, extraversion was found to correlate with central executive efficiency (r = .42) but not with storage capacity (r = .04). These results are discussed in terms of arousal theories of extraversion and the role of catecholamines (dopamine and norepinephrine) in prefrontal function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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