The Relationship Between Extraversion and Time Perception: a Correlational Study

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The Relationship Between Extraversion and Time Perception: A Correlational Study

Eysenck stated that extraverts need more stimulation (e.g. engaging, loud, exciting situations) for optimal performance, whereas introverts require minimal stimulation (e.g. quiet isolation). Does the extravert’s reliance on constant activity mean that they will underestimate a period of time if they are not in a stimulating situation? Will introverts appreciate the lack of stimulation and overestimate that same period of time? H1 was that there would be a negative correlation between extraversion and time estimation (one-tailed test). 49 subjects were given an EPQ-R-s questionnaire to complete, to determine their EPQ-E (extraversion) score. They were then told to sit quietly, facing the wall to give minimal stimulation, raise their hand when they thought 7 minutes had passed and were timed until they gave their estimation. It was found that there was a weak negative correlation (r = -0.29) between EPQ-E score and no. of seconds taken to raise one’s hand, and a p value of 0.019 made the results significant at the 5% level. H1 was accepted.

This research is primarily being carried out to verify a link between extraversion and time perception. Cambridge’s online dictionary defines an extrovert as one who is lively, cheerful and enjoys the company of others. In contrast, it defines an introvert as “someone who is shy, quiet and unable to make friends easily”. According to Laverty (1958, p.50), extroverted behaviour is very unreserved; feelings and attitudes are expressed in a frank and impulsive fashion “in words, gestures and acts”, unhindered by constraints of prior consideration or hesitancy. Pertaining to introverted conduct, Laverty states that it is much the opposite. Impulsive outward expression is suppressed in favour of maintaining a “reserved or even withdrawn” demeanour. Eysenck (1957, cited by Savage, 1964) suggested that those deemed as extraverts are thought to be cortically under-aroused, whilst introverts would be considered to have high cortical arousal. Indeed, Johnson et al. (1999, cited by Killgore et al, 2007) established a correlation between introversion and “greater cerebral blood flow within the prefrontal cortex and anterior thalamus” by means of a PET scan, supporting Eysenck’s theory. Additional support for Eysenck is illustrated by the findings of Kumari et al (2004) who found that extraverts at rest tended to have lower fMRI signal intensity within the cortex, “suggesting lower levels of basal cortical arousal in this group” (cited in Killgore et al, 2007). According to Tan and Tiong (1999), extraverts tend to be impatient when it comes to slow and drawn out tasks, generally not minding interruptions. Introverts do not mind such tasks, preferring to work alone in quiet concentration, with no interruptions. Hence it is consistent with Eysenck’s 1967 allegation that extraverts need more cortical stimulation than introverts for optimal performance. To put it simply, introverts will work better in quiet isolation so as not to become over-aroused, whereas extraverts crave excitement to overcome their easily bored tendencies and under-arousal. Furthermore, Danckert & Allman (2005) stated that those prone to boredom tended to underestimate a length of time, whereas those not easily bored overestimated the time period. Fielding et al (1992) indicated that time perception can be influenced by motivational levels, although extraversion of subjects was not examined. Tranel (1962) found that extraverts tolerated isolated conditions better than introverts, and all but two extraverts stayed the full four hours. The results imply that the extraverts, although completely under-stimulated by their surroundings, saw the isolation as a challenge of endurance. One extraverted participant reported that it had felt like two hours as opposed to the actual four, but this testimony alone may not be enough to...
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