Pic Credit: Ambro

Pic Credit: Ambro

From a recent article on Psych Central: "Are Extraverts Happier in the Long Run?"

New research from the UK links happiness in later life with an outgoing and more emotionally stable demeanor in early adulthood.
Investigators from the University of Southampton, led by Catharine Gale, Ph.D., have published their research in the Journal of Research in Personality(...)
Extraversion was assessed by questions about their sociability, energy and activity orientation. Neuroticism was assessed by questions about emotional stability, mood and distractibility. (...)
Their answers pointed to a distinct pattern.
Specifically, greater extraversion, as assessed in young adulthood, was directly associated with higher scores for well-being and for satisfaction with life.
Neuroticism, in contrast, predicted poorer levels of well-being, but it did so indirectly. People higher in neuroticism as young adults were more susceptible to psychological distress later in life and to a lesser extent, poorer physical health.
“Understanding what determines how happy people feel in later life is of particular interest because there is good evidence that happier people tend to live longer,” Gale said.

I find this interesting, because as someone with extraverted Feeling preferences (Fe), I always thought people who were not so concerned with external opinions and maintaining harmony with others had an easier time of being happy. "Staying with myself" and setting effective boundaries is a skill I'm trying to practice every day, and I always thought this came somewhat more naturally to people with preferences for Introversion (and Thinking). 

But I guess this research can be interpreted as another indication for the assumption that man is a social animal. Brené Brown says, we are wired for connection. I am totally prepared to believe that. I just wonder how much of our happiness also has to do with living conditions, general circumstances, location, culture, love-life, health, financial situation, political and gender equality, opportunity for personal and professional development. 

Reducing a concept like happiness to the E-I dichotomy, or in this case, two of the five traits groups seems reductionist. For a complete picture, we might have to see how the research questions were worded. To answer this blog title's question: Depends. Because as you may have guessed by now, different personality types define happiness in very different ways.  

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