What is an Extrovert?

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  • Written By: Niki Foster
  • Edited By: Sara Z. Potter
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2019
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Basically, an extrovert, also spelled extravert, is a person who is outgoing, assertive, and very social. Extroversion and its opposite, introversion, form the ends of a continuum that describes one aspect of every person's personality. The concept of extroversion and introversion was popularized by the work of psychologist Carl Jung.

Jung described an extrovert as a person whose psychic energy is directed outward. While most modern day psychologists do not believe in the existence of "psychic energy" per se, they agree that an extrovert is more focused on things external to the self - other people, exciting situations, and the like. An extrovert may feel bored when alone and can typically accomplish more when working in a group. A common stereotype of the extrovert is "the life of the party."

In Western culture, particularly in the United States, the extrovert is considered socially superior to the introvert, as he or she genuinely enjoys the company of others in large groups. The extrovert is often perceived as engaging and exciting. A study conducted by psychologist David Myers found that extroverts are more likely to be "happy" than introverts, although the reason for this correlation is unknown. Other studies have revealed that the extrovert experiences more blood flow in parts of the brain dealing with the senses and emotional response.


There are some drawbacks to being an extrovert, however. Extroverts may have a harder time at school, particularly higher education, because of the amount of solitary studying often required to do well. An extrovert will probably enjoy socializing with peers more than reading books and taking notes alone in his or her room. In addition, extroverts have a higher incidence of juvenile delinquency, probably because of their drive to seek out excitement. Extroverts also have a more powerful response to dopamine than introverts, making some more prone to drug abuse.

If you are unsure whether or not you are an extrovert, there are self-tests available in many books and online to help you determine where you fall along the spectrum. Keep in mind, however, that most people are somewhat of a combination of introvert and extrovert.


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Discuss this Article

Post 7

I'm an adopted only child so, in a cut-out/cut-off situation such as that, I had little choice but to be an introvert. I tried for 30 years to belong, but I was always bullied, always cast out, never given a chance despite being well-educated, because my personality was not outgoing enough.

When I turned 30, after applying for dozens of jobs and getting nothing, I became self-employed with my own online business and realized that it was best I stay cut off and cut out. If I hadn't made that decision I'd be dead by now.

Extroverts always make introverts out to be the bad guys, but communication is a two-way street, and the reason introverts can't change is because they are always cut out and bullied despite trying to belong.

Post 6

If you are an extrovert and want to be an introvert what should you do?

Post 5

@little man: yes there is a thing called 'ambivert' which is 50 percent introvert and 50 percent extrovert.

Post 4

So if I like to go out, but also like to stay home and do my own thing, am I an introvert or extrovert?

I like each pretty equally -- maybe I'm a midtrovert (if there is such a thing).

Post 3

I can totally relate to what the article is saying about the problems that can come along with being an extrovert.

I have a roommate who is tons of fun to be around because she is a total extrovert.

However, she often has a hard time getting all her homework done because she always wants to go out with friends.

She always manages to get it done, but I think if she were slightly less extroverted she might not have so many close calls!

Post 2

I'm so glad that the article mentioned the pros and cons of introvert vs extrovert.

I am a born introvert, and hate it when people misread me because of that.

I still love going to parties and hanging out with friends, I just don't talk all the time when I'm with them.

However, as an introvert, one thing I have come to learn as important is to know when to stay in my own space and when to make myself go out.

Although it is often tempting to get into the rut of staying home, sometimes it's good for introverts like me to get out and change things up a little.

Post 1

Jung's Theory of Psychological Types has been formatted into a test where you can find out where you are beyond the extrovert-introvert continuum. It also tests for characteristics on the sensing-intuition, thinking-feeling, perceiving-judging continua. 16 possible combinations result and you're given a 4 letter code that is meant to identify your personality. For example you might be a IITJ - introvert, intuitive, thinking, judging person. Of course, it can't provide perfect results -- it is afterall just an impersonal questionnaire -- but finding out your results can be interesting!

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