Outgoing behaviour promotes feelings of happiness, suggests a recent study. The researchers at the College of Education at Washington State University found that when introverts engage in extroverted behaviours, they experience greater feelings of happiness.
This study in the Journal of Research in Personality, compared behaviour and mood between college students from Asia and the America in the US (56 students), Venezuela (56 students), China (66 students), the Philippines (60 students) and Japan (54 students). The researchers wanted to see how these findings might apply to international cultures.
The study was inspired by previous research conducted by William Fleesonof the Wake Forest University in North Carolina. The later study, only examined this behaviour in Americans. He cited the two examples of happiness-boosting extroverted behaviour – smiling at a passerby or calling an old friend.
The researchers wanted to see how the five personality traits (extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness translated from culture to culture. In group sessions, the subjects were first rated on their personality traits in general and thereafter, on the levels of ‘positive affect’ and ‘negative affect’ (measured using enthusiastic, happy, upset and sad adjectives) three times a day, for 20 days.
The researchers found that across all cultures, people scored more highly for positive emotions when they had encountered daily situations in which they behaved in a more extroverted manner. In other words, happiness has nothing to do with material items or socio-economic surrounding.
Moreover, the subjects felt more extroverted, agreeable, conscientious, emotionally stable and open to experience when they were in situations where they felt autonomous. The respondents were felt more able to be extroverted on choosing their own behaviour - as opposed to situations where their behaviour was constrained in some way by outside pressures.
According to Prof. Church, the lead author, there is a little difference between how the cultures they studied respond emotionally to situations where they feel introverted or extroverted.
(Source: Medical News Today)
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