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Extroverts happier regardless of culture

Updated: Apr 19, 2014 09:09 AM
© iStockphoto.com / Oleg Prikhodko © iStockphoto.com / Oleg Prikhodko

FRIDAY, April 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Being outgoing makes you happier no matter where you live, a new international study says.

Researchers looked at mood and behavior among college students in the United States, China, Japan, the Philippines and Venezuela. Overall, those who felt or acted more extroverted in daily situations were happier.

The investigators also found that the students' behavior was more upbeat when they felt free to be themselves, according to the study in the Journal of Research in Personality.

"We are not the first to show that being more extroverted in daily behavior can lead to more positive moods. However, we are probably the first to extend this finding to a variety of cultures," study author Timothy Church, a professor of counseling psychology and associate dean of research in the College of Education at Washington State University, said in a university news release.

Previous studies found that introverts in the United States were happier when they did outgoing things such as giving an old friend a call or smiling at a passerby. According to the news release, most of this type of research has been conducted in Western nations that place a high value on independence and individualism.

In this study, Church wanted to investigate the link between extroversion and happiness in more community-based cultures in Asia and South America. The findings show that many cultures share similar major personality traits and that being outgoing may be one way to increase happiness in all of them, researchers say.

"Cross-cultural psychologists like to talk about psychic unity," Church said. "Despite all of our cultural differences, the way personality is organized seems to be pretty comparable across cultural groups. There is evidence to show that 40 to 50 percent of the variation in personality traits has a genetic basis."

More information

Mental Health America offers tips on how to live your life well.

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