Poster Presentation 6th World Congress on Positive Psychology 2019

Exploring Beliefs About The Character Strengths And Weaknesses Of Introverts In An Extraverted Culture (#647)

Rod Lawn 1 , Gavin R Slemp 1 , Dianne A Vella-Brodrick 1
  1. University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Introverts are typically described as being quiet and reserved, and generally experience lower well-being than extraverts. Mounting evidence suggests that in individualistic Western cultures where agentic behaviour is rewarded this might, in part, reflect extraverts having better person-environment fit. Beyond personality traits, character can provide unique insights into how people are evaluated against prevailing cultural norms. The aim of this study was to explore the perceived character strengths and weaknesses of introverts and extraverts in a Western cultural context. An Australian adult sample (N = 399) completed a novel selection-and-ranking exercise to attribute the 24 Values in Action character strengths and corresponding weaknesses to introverts and extraverts. In light of Western individualism, these character attributions reflected a preference for extraversion. Introverts and extraverts were regarded as opposites, and the signature strengths and weaknesses attributed to extraverts appeared more conducive to thriving in a cultural context that values personal agency. However, it was also apparent that introverts are believed to possess intellectual virtues of temperance or wisdom and knowledge that could enable them to be their true self but still pursue their goals and make a valued social contribution in a context where extraversion is considered the ideal way of being.