Explaining the Extraversion/Positive Affect Relation: Sociability Cannot Account for Extraverts' Greater Happiness


  • The data included in Study 1 come from a large, semester-long project on personality and subjective well-being coordinated by Ed Diener. Additional analyses from this project have been published in a number of studies by Diener and colleagues, including Study 4 of Lucas, Diener, Grob, Suh and Shao (2000) and Study 6 of Lucas and Baird (2004). This study was also included in Richard E. Lucas's Dissertation.

Address correspondence to Richard E. Lucas, Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824. E-mail: lucasri@msu.edu.


ABSTRACT 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.