Description: Think about this statement. Extroverts have better memories than Introverts. If you were to find a study (and there is a link below to a description of just such a study) that showed a correlation between scores on the personality dimension of Introversion/Extroversion you could just take the statement at face value (e.g., yes, introverts’ memory ability sucks) but I hope you do not do that. So, if you are not going to take the simple route and move on, think about what else you need to know about the study and about what the searchers did or did not do before you can more productively fire up your speculation over the casual forces at work behind the correlational statement above. Once you have your questions sorted out read the linked article/post to see what the researchers did and what the article’s author suggests about their methods and results.
Source: The Memory Problem That Makes Life Difficult for Introverts, Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Fulfillment at Any Age, Psychology Today.
Date: March 13, 2021
One of the biggest problems with the way people outside of Psychology typically interpret their own and others’ Personality profiles is that they assume personality to be fixed as in, if you have a high score on the Introversion Extroversion dimension then you ARE an extrovert. That line of thinking tends to go hand in hand with the sort of simple causal attributions I noted above (e.g., Introverts’ memory sucks). It makes things a lot clearer if we think of personality as the result of a reflective sampling of social behavior or of how the person we are “rating” behaved in social situations that we can recall from the past. Based on this, Personality does provide some predictive utility but not nearly as much utility or accuracy as we sometimes act like we believe it provides. Rather than just taking a score on a personality dimension at face value as marker of an aspect of an individual’s consistent disposition how about if we see it as a reflection of past behavior? That way, when we are shown a correlation between scores on the Introversion/Extroversion dimension we can ask a much more useful hypothesis generating question like: what have Introverts been doing that has contributed to their lower level of memory performance relative to Extroverts AND what sorts of things might they do to change that? Much more useful questions.
Questions for Discussion:
- What is the relationship between Introversion/Extroversion and memory?
- What kinds of memory are involved in the above?
- Does this article and what I have said about it change how YOU think about personliaty?
References (Read Further):
El Haj, M., Allain, P., De Bont, L., & Ndobo, A. (2021). Personality and social memory: High source and destination memory in extroverts. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. Link
Allen, M. S., Laborde, S., & Walter, E. E. (2019). Health-related behavior mediates the association between personality and memory performance in older adults. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 38(2), 232-252. Link
Adali, S., & Golbeck, J. (2012, August). Predicting personality with social behavior. In 2012 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining (pp. 302-309). IEEE. Link
Paulhus, D. L., & Martin, C. L. (1988). Functional flexibility: A new conception of interpersonal flexibility. Journal of personality and social psychology, 55(1), 88. Link
Hitt, M. A., Keats, B. W., & DeMarie, S. M. (1998). Navigating in the new competitive landscape: Building strategic flexibility and competitive advantage in the 21st century. Academy of Management Perspectives, 12(4), 22-42. Link
Pincus, A. L., & Ansell, E. B. (2003). Interpersonal theory of personality. Handbook of psychology, 209-229. Link