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Description: Quick! Who is happier, or who is more often happier, introverts of extroverts? Well, consistently research seems to show that extroverts are happier than introverts more of the time. Why do you think that might be? If it is the case that being extroverted or perhaps acting in an extroverted manner makes you happier what do you think would happen if we counselled, encouraged, or simply asked people to act in more extroverted ways. If they are introverts and role-play being extroverted what do you think will happen to their level of happiness? Also, what think about how the study should be designed to properly address this hypothesis? Once you have thought it through give the article linked below a read and see how the researchers who conducted the studies is discusses handled the design question and what they found.

Source: Acting like an extrovert has benefits, but not for introverts, Christian Jarrett, AEON and the British Psychological Society Readers Digest.

Date: October 31, 2018

Photo Credit: Poseiden at the Mermaid Parade, Coney Island. See-Ming Lee/Flickr

Article Link:


So, the past finding that “acting like” an extrovert makes everyone including introverts happier is not as solid a finding as was once thought. This is interesting given the large number of “fake it until you make it” strategy suggestions there are out there. There DO seem to be short term mood bumps, but maybe longer terms outcomes are not as resoundingly positive as was once thought. What does that suggest about claims like — acting extroverted buys you extrovert benefits? Well, of course, as the article author suggests it indicates that more research is needed but what should we look at to try and sort this out? What do you think? Maybe impacts on our personality are the rolling sum of our actions in many social situations and, if so, a positive mood bump from a single social situation will get averaged out pretty quickly. Interesting and, indeed, more research is needed!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How does acting in extroverted ways impact our mood states?
  2. Why might extroverted behaviour lead to a short term mood bump?
  3. What do the results of the study discussed in the article linked above suggest for the “fake it ‘till you make it” personal improvement or advancement strategy?

References (Read Further):

Sun, J., Stevenson, K., Kabbani, R., Richardson, B., & Smillie, L. D. (2017). The pleasure of making a difference: Perceived social contribution explains the relation between extraverted behavior and positive affect. Emotion, 17(5), 794.

Jacques-Hamilton, R., Sun, J., & Smillie, L. (2018). Costs and Benefits of Acting Extraverted: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

Hanna, J. (2010). Power posing: fake it until you make it. HBS Working Knowledge.

Nielsen, K. (2015). ‘Fake It’til You Make It’’ Why Community College Students’ Aspirations ‘‘Hold Steady’. Sociology of Education, 88(4), 265-283.

Rafaeli, A., & Sutton, R. I. (1989). The expression of emotion in organizational life. Research in organizational behavior, 11(1), 1-42.