Explaining the extraversion/positive affect relation: sociability cannot account for extraverts' greater happiness

J Pers. 2008 Jun;76(3):385-414. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2008.00490.x. Epub 2008 Apr 8.


The association between Extraversion and positive affect is one of the most robust findings in the study of personality and emotion. Temperament models posit that the association is direct; instrumental models posit that the association is mediated by additional processes. Two experience sampling studies were conducted to test instrumental mechanisms that might underlie the effect. According to a mediation model, extraverts' greater social activity can account for their increased positive affect when compared to introverts. According to a person-by-situation interaction model, extraverts react more positively to social situations than do introverts, and this interaction can account for the association. Only weak support for the instrumental models was found; consistent with temperament models, a moderate direct association remained even after controlling for these effects.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Extraversion, Psychological*
  • Female
  • Happiness*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Introversion, Psychological
  • Judgment
  • Male
  • Personality
  • Self Concept*
  • Social Perception*
  • Temperament*