London - Extroverts are happier than introverts because of a more effective “desire system”, researchers have discovered.
Previous theories had claimed the effect was caused by a more effective pleasure system.
Researchers analysed more than 1 300 people, tracking their response to 14 000 activities.
“Extroverts, because of their active nature, are more likely to seek and spend more time on rewarding activities,” the researchers said.
“When they do so, they also experience a higher boost in momentary happiness as compared to their introverted counterparts.
“This partly explains the direct relationship between extroversion and momentary happiness.”
Their first finding was that extroverts reported more happiness than introverts during what the researchers defined as “rewarding” activities that take effort – such as sports and exercise, and financially rewarding work tasks.
In contrast, they found there was no difference between extroverts and introverts in happiness experienced during low-effort, low-importance “pleasurable, hedonic” activities, such as watching TV, listening to music, relaxing, and shopping.
However, one exception to this pattern was reading – surprisingly, perhaps, extroverts appeared to derive more enjoyment from this activity than introverts.
The researchers say this could be because reading isn’t always just for pleasure, but can also be completed in pursuit of a reward, such as to pass a course.
“Multilevel results confirm that extroverts experience a higher boost in momentary happiness when spending time on rewarding – but not pleasurable – activities, especially when rewarding activities are executed with others.”
The researchers also said extroverts experienced a bigger happiness boost than introverts when they performed rewarding activities with other people, rather than alone. – Daily Mail