Extraversion Impacts Close Relationships

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Reward sensitivity pertains to the tendency to experience “an incentive motivational state that facilitates and guides approach behavior to a goal” (Dupue & Collins, 1999, p. 495). Extraversion has been found to be linked to the personality trait of sociability (McCrae & Costa,1987). Extraverts tend to be sociable because reward sensitivity is the core of extraversion and social situations are rewarding (McCrae & Costa,1987). The aspects of Extraversion are related by a preference for socials interactions and underlying sensitivity to reward.
 In most cases close relationships are bonds made with friends, family members and significant others. A level of closeness can typically be measured by the amount of intimacy shared relationship (Shulman & Knafo, 1997). The most successful relationships are the ones that can grow in closeness, intimacy               and maintain the needs of others that are the most successful. Following the statements mentioned above, the current study is to examine the impact extraversion has on the closeness of a relationship. Specifically, this research will identify the impact extraversion has in close relationships.
 Close Relationships and its relation to Personality
 Personality development is a contributing factor of how close relationships are formed throughout one’s life. There has been recent evidence on co-development in the five domains of personality (openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism) that explain the interaction/relationship between two individuals (Grob, 2016). Individuals also tend to form relationships between elements of similar nature. Nelson, Thorne & Shapiro (2011) suggest that individuals choose friends and relationships whose personalities are similar to their own. They explored how close friends were, either very similar or very different in regard to extraversion and introversion.

Carver & Scheier (1994) argue that personality is stable, enduring, and fixed. The few varying circumstancing that prove otherwise are early childhood experiences, major life changes and significant interactions made in the social world. Other approaches assume that people create their own behavior and personality, thus making personality ever changing throughout one’s life. For example, one may adapt to a specific environment and change their personal characteristics based on the current situation occurring.
 When environment influences remain stable and present, so do personality traits of the individual. (Roberts & Caspi, 2003). This implies that the way people select these stable environments is a direct cause of personality continuity. People tend to follow explicit and implicit contingencies and change their behaviors based on which contingencies they are influenced and brought up by (Roberts & Caspi, 2003). Explicit contingencies focus on the idea that parents directly impact their child’s personality because they are attempting to prepare them for future situations. In comparison, implicit contingencies are unspoken expectations. They shape an individual’s personality by stating appropriate ways of how one should behave in society. Thus, a person is changing their personality to adapt to their social surroundings. Caspi and Roberts (2001) suggest three additional mechanisms of how personality may change throughout a person’s life. The three mechanisms are as follows: watching ourselves (self-insight learning), watching others (social learning) and listening to others (learning from others deception of oneself).
 Personality discontinuity urges an individual to typically adapt to the current environment, and ultimately, conform into the specific social setting. Individuals with personality discontinuity are more sensitive than most of the individuals within their new environment. Personality continuity is more stable because the environment is stable. The reason for this stability is due to, individual differences in behavior are inherited and are particularly triggered by genetic factors influenced in early childhood (Grob, 2016). Thus, since the environment is stable, an individual’s personality typically remains congruent. In conclusion, their personality has always been similar to people in their environment because of their environmental restrains. For example, having similar personalities to family members and people from the same home town would be common in an individual who exhibits personality continuity (Grob, 2016).
 Robins, Caspi and Moffitt (2000) found that people tend to marry others with likeminded ideas and traits. Further data reveals that spouses become more similar to each other over time (Robins, Caspi & Moffitt, 2000). This study illustrates that likeminded growth is an adaptive characteristic of long-term partnerships.
 Erol and Orth (2016) review two intricate dynamics within relationships: The first assesses correlation between extremely high/low self-esteem and the quality of a romantic relationship while the second tests the correlation between like-minded self-esteems in a romantic relationship and their respective quality. (p.236). The findings indicate that high self-esteem and similar self-esteem levels have positive effect on romantic relationships and the satisfaction of each individual. The authors believe that couples who think very highly of their partner, have secure attachments and trusting bonds. These clearly have a positive correlation when it comes beneficial (as opposed to adverse) effects within romantic relationships (Erol & Orth, 2016).
  Self-esteem is a major personality trait that also affects the individual’s time spent towards their relationship, as well how many relationships they have (Grob, 2016). People who are perceived to have higher self-esteem tend to be grouped with other people of similar nature such as performers and athletes. Also, individuals who have higher self-esteem tend to be more outgoing and reach out to more people. As for people with lower self-esteem, they typically take fewer social steps and maintain a small, well-knit friend group.
 Nelson, Thorne and Shapiro (2011) explain that how the answer to personality reinforced across social environments is directly dependent on the personality similarities between and Individual, their friends, and their partners. Researchers have found clear evidence of personality similarities between friends and partners (Dishion, Patterson, Stoolmiller, & Skinner, 1991). According to Caspi and Roberts (2001) similar personalities increase the likelihood of sharing likes and dislikes such as, political views and family values. While also, engaging in similar activities.
 In relation to extraversion, researchers would argue that extraverts are drawn to both extraverted and introverted individuals (McCrae & Costa, 1989). Extraverts attract introverts because introverts are likely to give into extravert’s social dominance. A common trait of the introvert is a lack of confidence and agency in many social environments. Many introverts discover agency and social skills under the guidance of extraverts. Extraverts attract other extraverts with their warmth and positivity. While one might assume that opposites attract in this situation, as mentioned prior, people of likeminded interests will tend to be drawn to each other. The reason this likeminded connection isn’t as apparent in introverts, is not due to the lack of similar traits attracting similar people. It’s due to introvert’s lack of social skills they possess (McCrae & Costa, 1989). Thus, extraverts have the largest friend pools when it comes to social interactions due to their inherent ability to connect with both introverts and extraverts.
 According to Selfhout, Burk, Brainie, Dennison, Aken and Meeus (2010), extraverts are reported to having more friends than introverts. While introverts do not entirely lack friends, extraverts tend to have a much wider diverse selection. Friendships with introverts however, have been noted to have qualitative benefits over the relationships of extravert. This may be due to the fact that extraverts exhibit personality traits of sociability, affiliation, adventure and energy. They typically enjoy the act of social attention, which consists of participating and taking pleasure in social interactions (Ashton, Lee, & Paunonnen, 2002).
 The number and type of activities within friendships can further explain why certain individuals fall into the extraverted category. Introverts and extraverts put themselves in different situations based on where the activity takes place, what kinds of activity is taking place and which/how many friends take part in it (Argyle & Lu, 1990). More extraverted events include participating in team sports and attending parties (Argyle & Lu, 1990). Parties are a prime example of extraverts meeting many individuals, then forming friendships. These friendships formed however are not typically the strong/close bonds one might see in the friendships between introverts. Its more along the lines of a casual friendship or that one friend they only talk to at parties. With regards to outgoingness extraverts seem to easily start a friendship, more often take the lead, make their voice heard and accel at having conversations with strangers (Nelson, Thorne, & Shapiro, 2011). 
Being Able to Agree and Extraversion Causing Satisfaction in Relationships
 Tov, Nai, and Lee (2016) conducted studies explaining the effects of agreeableness and extraversion on daily relationship satisfaction. The data showed that agreeableness predicted satisfaction with family and romantic relationships. The data also showed that both agreeableness and extraversion led to satisfaction with friends.
 Personality traits of assertiveness, talkativeness and motivation to engage in social contact are all common characteristics of extraverts (Wilt & Revelle, 2009). Agreeable people have been described as likable, pleasant and responsive to the needs of others (Graziano & Tobin, 2009). Extraverts have also been found to value social impact, while agreeable people stress the importance of maintaining positive relationships. In other terms, extraversion shows a combination of both dominance and agreeableness. Although there are clear differences between extraversion and agreeableness, the two characteristics usually show a positive correlation.
 According to Tov and Diener (2008), the relationship between extraversion and positive affectivity allows for the hypothesis that extraverts are more trusting than introverts. Research suggests that positive effect is associated with the will to trust others. “Participants who were induced to feel positive emotions reported greater trust in an acquaintance” (Dunn & Schweitzer, 2005, 3). This determines a positive correlation between trust and prior good experiences. If an individual had poor experiences prior, they would be less likely to socially extend themselves as far as someone whose experiences were mostly positive. Extraverts maintain positive relationships by reaching out to others, and as the cycle continues, they pull other introverts into their wake.
 Pessimism and optimism are two very different characteristics, but have related, constructs (Marshall, Wortman, Kusulas, Hervig, & Vickers, 1992). Pessimism and optimism are directly dependent on the dimensions of one’s personality and mood. For example, Pessimism is related to neuroticism and negative affect. Optimism is associated with extraversion and positive affect. The optimist is one who views the world through a lens of success. To the optimism, very little is impossible with intense effort. The pessimist however, has less motivation due to the expected outcome of failure. The correlation between optimism and extraversion can be seen easily through the similarities of the inherent traits of the two. For one, both the optimist and the extravert work hard for social success. Now both the pessimist and the introvert would likely have less motivation due to their inherent lack of social success. Their prior experience would likely box them further into their introversion, unless acted upon by a separate extravert. Essentially, it’s not the lack of social skills that prevent the introvert from succeeding among peers, it is the expectation of social failure. Just as it is the optimist’s expectation of success that drives them seek out further connections. One benefit a skeptical introvert might have over an un-questioning extravert is the difference in quality between what the two yield. It’s will become obvious that the introvert’s skeptical pessimism will fuel the kind of people they place around them. The extravert will likely take little into question and assume the best of each person they meet due to their optimistic expectation of success. This could lead to easier breaks in trust with the extrovert and few realms where the introvert exceeds the extravert’s social connection (Marshall, Wortman, Kusulas, Hervig, & Vickers, 1992).
     Current Work
 The independent variable scales present the primary hypothesis (see appendix; A). There are ten different levels of the independent variable (Scheier, Carver, & Bridges, 1994). Each level is a statement that explains how extraverted the participants are. After each statement there is a numerical scale ranging from one (I agree a lot!) to five (I disagree a lot!), that applies to how the participants feel. The primary hypothesis is, as levels of extraversion go up, levels of closeness to a person goes down. The researchers expect higher scores on the independent variable scales (LOT; see Appendix A) and lower scores on the closeness measurement, dependent variable scale (Inclusion of Self Scale; see Appendix B). The researchers in the study expect to see a negative correlation between the levels of extraversion and closeness they feel to a person in a specific relationship.
 The dependent variable will be measured using the Inclusion of Self Scale (Gächter, Starmer & Tufano 2015; see Appendix B). The questionnaire will ask participants who their closest relationship is with and how close a person feels in their closest relationship.

 In addition to the primary hypothesis, the study will test two exploratory hypotheses. The first hypothesis states higher levels of extraversion positively correlated to a higher number of relationships. The second explanatory hypothesis predicts that people with more relationships will either feel more or less secure in their close relationships. All additional variables will be measured on the Demographics Questionnaire (see Appendix C).
      Method
             Participants
 The current study will include twenty participants: three males and seventeen females. Their ages will range from 18 to 26 years old (M=?, SD=?).  All of the participants were students in a Research Methods in Psychology class at The College at Brockport, State University of New York during the Fall 2018 semester. They were selected by convenience sampling. The students will not obtain any additional incentives, because participation in this study was a mandatory course assignment.
Instruments
 Life Orientation Test (LOT). The participants level of extraversion will be measured using the Life Orientation Test (LOT) generated by Scheier, Carver and Bridges (1994; see Appendix A). The questionnaire contains a total of ten items. The participants responded to each of them using a Likert scale ranging from one (I agree a lot!) to five (I disagree a lot!). Each question in this series is in a form of a statement to reach how a person feels. For example: “I enjoy my friends a lot.” Questions 3, 7 and 9 are used to score a person’s introversion, questions 4,8, and 10 indicates an individual’s extraversion, and questions 2,5, 6, and 8 are used as filler questions and will not be scored. Each participant’s overall level of extraversion is determined by adding the answers given without reverse coding for questions 4, 8, and 10 and reverse coding questions 3, 7, 9 since they are measuring introversion (Scheier, Carver, & Bridges, 1994). For example, if a participant answered a four for questions 3, 7, and 9 then the reverse coded would be two for all of the questions. The LOT took participants approximately forty-five seconds to complete and has demonstrated an exceptional degree of reliability of .80 (a=.80; Chiesi et al, 2013). The reliability for the LOT in the current study was high (a=?).  
 Inclusion of Other in Self Scale. The participants relationship with the person whom they feel closest to will be measured using “The Inclusion of Other in Self Scale” developed by Gächter, Starmer & Tufano (2015; see appendix B). This questionnaire contains a total of two items. The participants responded to each of them by either filling in the blank or circling the answer that most appropriately described them. The Inclusion of Self Scale is scored by determining the degree of overlap depicted in the specific questionnaire that represents the degree of interconnectedness that a specific individual feels to another. The farther apart one circle is from another signifies how “closed off” a person feels in a specific relationship. The closer together the circles were from each other depicted how involved the individual felt in that specific relationship. The scale is scored by determining the degree ranging from 1 (Not at all close) to 7 (Extremely close).  It also included a question pertaining to what specific person your are closest to. The Inclusion of Self Scale took participants approximately 30 seconds to complete. The Inclusion of Other in Self Scale has a test-retest reliability between .71 and .87 (r=.71, r=.87; Woosnam, 2010).
 Demographic questionnaire. The demographic questionnaire contained open-ended, restricted questions (see Appendix C). There were six questions within said questionnaire. The participants responded to them by either filling in a response or checking the answer that most appropriately described them. The questionnaire asked participants for general information such as age, gender identity and years to which they attended their college. It also included questions referring to an individual’s number of close relationships, length of time (in years) of an individual’s closest relationship, and current romantic relationship status.
Procedure
 The sample will be grouped using convenience sampling of Students in a Research Methods course at The College of Brockport. The study will take place in the same classroom, at the exact same time as the usual scheduled research lab. Each participant will complete an informed consent form before the study provided by the course instructor. After they officially agree to be included in the study, participants in the Research Methods class of Fall 2018 will be handed a booklet containing the Life Orientation Test (LOT; Scheier, Carver & Bridges, 1994), Inclusion of Other in Self Scale (Gächter, Starmer & Tufano, 2015) and the demographic questionnaire (in that order). The researchers did nothing to manipulate the independent variable since they are measuring a person’s different levels of extraversion. The independent variable will always be presented first, followed by the dependent variable. The Life Orientation Test and Inclusion of Other in Self Scale will not be counterbalanced, since one scale doesn’t have influence on the other. The demographic questionnaire will always appear after the tests and scales. The participants will complete the survey booklets in the regular classroom, in the presence of the researchers and course instructor. After completion of the booklet, they will be handed back to the researchers and participants will be thanked and able to ask any questions concerning the experiment.

Results

 The sample consisted of twenty participants, with seventeen females and three males. One participant was in their first year of college, five in their second year, eight in their third year, four in their fourth year, and two in their fifth year. One participant stated they had no close relationships, two said they had one close relationship, two said they had three, four people said they had four, five people said they had five, one person said they had six, and three said they had ten. Seven participants said they were in a relationship, while thirteen participants said they were single. The participants ages ranged from eighteen being the youngest and twenty-six being the oldest. The mean for age of participants was (M=20.75, SD=2.05). On average, the length of time of participants’ closest relationship was M=8.84 years (SD=7.83).                                                                      The primary hypothesis was that the more optimistic an individual is, the closer they will feel in their closest relationship. The independent variable is the level of optimism and the dependent variable is how close one feels in their closest relationship. The data was continuous because both variables were ranked on a scale and not in categories. A Pearson correlation test was conducted because both variables were continuous. it was found to be a negative correlation (r=-.323), therefore the data did not support the hypothesis.

References

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Appendix A

Circle the number that most applies most to you:

Appendix B

1) Think of the person whom you are the closest to. Who is it? (friend, family member, significant other)?_____________________

2) Instructions: Please circle the picture that best describes your current relationship with your closest other.

Appendix C

      Demographic Questionnaire

  1. Age: ___  
  2. Gender:  Male___ Female___ Non-binary___ Transgender:  Male-to-Female___ 

Female-to-Male___ Prefer not to say___ Other, explain___________________  

  1. Year in College: 1st___ 2nd___ 3rd___ 4th___ 5th___ 
  2. Number of close relationships: 1-2___ 3-4___ 5-6___6+___ 
  3. Length of time (in years) of your closest relationship____
  4. Relationship status: Currently in a relationship___ Currently Single___ 

 

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