Introverts use more concrete language than extraverts

Posted on May 23, 2017

According to new research, personality type (whether one is an introvert or an extrovert), can be revealed from the way an individual uses his or her language. Specifically, it was found that introverts tend to use more concrete words and are more precise, while extroverts use more abstract and vague language.

Camiel Beukeboom and his colleagues examined the association between language use and personality in a sample of 40 subjects, of which 19 were women. Participants were told to describe five photos depicting ambiguous social situations. Their answers were recorded and transcribed for later coding. A personality questionnaire was also completed by each participant three days later.

Participants who scored higher in extroversion tended to describe the photos in terms that were more abstract, as rated by an independent coder. These participants were found to be engaging in more interpretation – describing things that were not directly visible in the pictures. On the other hand, participants who scored higher in introversion, were found to be more concrete and precise their speech. They tended include more use of articles (i.e. “a”, “the”), more mentions of numbers and specific people, and making more distinctions (i.e. use of words like “but” and “except”).

The findings complement past research showing how conversations between two introverts usually involve discussing one topic in more depth whereas two extraverts dance around more topics in less detail. Researchers concluded that by talking at different levels of abstraction, extraverts and introverts will report information differently, due to the different inferences, memories, and information exchanged.


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