This study investigated the effect of introversion/extroversion and
self-esteem on a person's tendency to hold stereotypes about others.
To measure the dependent variables, participants completed a day in
the life paragraph of a fictitious Hispanic male. To determine whether
the participant was introverted or extroverted, the Eysenck Extroversion
Scale (Appendix A) was used; the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (Appendix
B) was used to determine the self-esteem of participants. The results
did not show a significant effect of personality or self-esteem on the
participants' use of stereotypes.
Introversion/Extraversion's Role in Facilitating
The nature (Jussim, Fleming, Coleman, & Kohberger, 1996) and source
(Schaller & Conway, 2001) of stereotypes has been frequently studied,
but the role of personality characteristics, specifically introversion/extroversion
(also known as EI) in the facilitating of stereotype formation has not
been substantially researched by psychologists. Due to the lack of research
in this area, this study will explore the possible relationship between
these specific personality types and a person's tendency, in general,
to foster stereotypes about others.
Research has found that introverts usually perform more effectively
on tasks that require reflection and insight (Matthews, 1992), whereas
their counterparts are normally more fit for tasks that require physiological
arousal such as speedy and fast pace tasks (Rawlings & Carnie, 1989).
Even though introverts tend to think deeply, they can sometimes be
at a disadvantage socially. Opt and Loffredo (2003), in their study
on communicator image and introversion/extraversion, found that extroverts
had a significantly higher communicator image than introverts. Norton
(1983), a prior researcher of this topic, defines communicator image
as "representing an overall evaluation of the person's perception
of whether the self is a good communicator or not" (1983, p. 72).
Strong predictors of this include dominance and open and relaxed personality
traits. Norton found that people with a high communicator image find
interaction with others easier. These results make sense due to the
fact that introverts focus inwardly, noticing ideas and concepts whereas
extroverts focus more on outside objects and other aspects of their
environment (Opt & Loffredo, 2003). This research supports the fact
that introverts have low confidence in their communication skills and
believe that others perceive them as inept socially (Opt & Loffredo,
2003). In light of this, introverts tend to shy away from social situations,
forming ties to groups, and meeting new people. Because they don't feel
comfortable communicating with people, the number of social encounters
they have had may be low, forcing them to rely upon stereotypes more
often. Introverts have also been found to hide away from competitive
encounters due to the anxiety it provokes (Graziano, Feldesman, &
Rahe, 1985). This further limits their social skills thus keeping them
from interacting effectively with hostile people (Graziano et al., 1985).
Since their social skills are low, introverts may use stereotypes to
deal with those that seem threatening to them.
The impact of extraversion on social relationships has also been investigated.
In Asendorpf and Wilpers' ( 1998, June) longitudinal study, both male
and female participants were asked to keep a record of the relationships
they made and maintained during this time. A measure of The Big Five
Personality factors was also taken of the participants every six months
of the study. The results of their study showed that extroversion positively
affects a person's ability to make enduring relationships (Asendorpf
& Wilpers, 1998). They also found that extroverts had longer and
Another relevant line of research to this topic is the contact theory.
In Pettigrew's (1998) review of contact effect research, the evidence
for contact effects are clearly supported. He cites Allport's (1954)
theory which brings to light four key elements for positive contact
between members of a group: equal group status within the situation,
common goals, intergroup cooperation, and the support of authorities,
custom, or law (Allport, 1954). Since extroverts are more likely than
introverts to be in organizations in which these conditions exist, it
would suffice that extroverts would be better equipped to overcome stereotypes.
Since extroverts usually have had more helpful, cooperative interactions
with others due to their increased social involvement and attention,
they should be less likely to rely heavily on stereotypes.
There are other personality traits that have been evaluated in regard
to holding stereotypes. In Kulik's (2005) study of gender role stereotypes
in Israeli adolescents, the correlation between self-esteem and gender
role stereotypes in adolescents was evaluated. The participants were
given a gender role stereotype questionnaire and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem
Scale to measure these variables. The results showed that if an adolescent's
self-esteem is high, they will not harbor gender role stereotypes about
men and women (Kulik, 2005). Research has also found that those whose
self-esteem has been threatened will often use stereotypes to boost
their self-esteem (Fein and Spencer, 2000).
Due to the lack of such data, the role of introversion/extroversion
in the use of stereotypes will be examined in this study as well as
the possible interaction of self-esteem and EI in regard to stereotypes.
It is difficult to predict a specific hypothesis in explaining the role
of EI in holding stereotypes. However, based on the literature mentioned
above, it is conceivable for an introvert to either foster stereotypes
(Opt & Loffredo, 2003) or reject stereotypes (Matthews, 1992). Self-esteem
could also interact with EI to create a stronger effect. If an extrovert's
self-esteem is threatened, for whatever reason, before participating
in the study, they may be more prone to use stereotypes, despite the
advantages they have socially. At the same time, introverts who have
a healthy self-esteem may not stereotype, even though they are not as
Participants consisted of students enrolled in introductory psychology
classes here at Georgia Southern University. The study was open to both
male and female participants of any ethnicity. The participants received
course credit for being in the study. There were a total of 41 participants.
Of these, there were 20 (49%) male participants and 21 (51%) female
participants. Twenty-six (63%) of the participants were white, 13 (32%)
were black, and two (5%) participants were of other ethnicities. There
were 13 (32%) freshmen, 14 (34%) sophomores, 6 (15%) juniors, 6 (15%)
fourth-year seniors, and 2 (5%) fifth-year seniors. The participants
ranged in age from 18-24 with a mean age of 20. All participants were
treated in accordance with the "Ethical Principles of Psychologists
and code of conduct"(American Psychological Association, 1992).
The study was a 2 (extroverted vs. introverted) x 2 (low vs. high self-esteem)
between subjects design. The two dependant variables were the number
of coded words for both the Hispanic and "what is beautiful is
For this study, the Eysenck Extraversion Scale and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem
Scale were used (see Appendices 1 and 2). The participants also filled
out a questionnaire using a picture of an anonymous Hispanic male in
which they wrote down their first impressions of the person as well
as any questions they wanted to ask him.
First, informed consent was given to participants in accordance with
IRB guidelines. The participants were then given a packet of materials
to fill out which included in the following order: general demographical
information, the Eysenck Extraversion Scale, the Rosenberg Self-Esteem
Scale, a sheet with pre-determined lines and the picture of the Hispanic
male for them to write their first impressions, and a sheet for questions
they would ask the person if they came into real contact with him. After
the participants filled out the packet, the first impressions were coded
for the following Hispanic stereotypes: lazy, unintelligent, and poor
(Dixon & Rosenbaum, 2004). Words were also coded to reflect the
"beauty" stereotype. This stereotype involves a preoccupation
with one's physical appearance and the image they are reflecting toward
others. Words coded for this included spending a long time fixing his
hair, picking out his clothes, etc. Also, if a participant assumed he
had friends and was popular because he looked attractive, this was coded
to represent the "beauty" stereotype as well. The questions
were analyzed to see if they confirmed any stereotypes present.
To measure the effect of the personality traits introversion and extroversion
on the presence of Hispanic stereotypes and the "what is beautiful
is good stereotype", two separate 2 (introversion vs. extroversion)
x 2 (high vs. low self-esteem) ANOVAs were conducted. The first ANOVA
measured the number of stereotypical Hispanic words given and the second
ANOVA measured the number of beauty stereotype words given. For the
first ANOVA, neither personality F(1,41)=.01, p>.05, n²=.00
nor self-esteem F(1,41)=.01(1), p>.05, n²=.00
significantly affected the amount of Hispanic stereotypes present (M=21,
SD=.57). For the second ANOVA, neither the effects of personality
F(1,41)=3.31, p>.05, n²=.10 nor self-esteem F(1,41)=.53,
p>.05, n²=.12 were significant (M=.95, SD=1.52).
There was not a significant interaction between personality and self-esteem
for either the number of Hispanic words given F(1,41)=3.10, p>.05,
n²=.09 or the number of beauty words given F(1,41)=.53,
Other qualitative variables were measured as well, such as what level
of school he was perceived to be in, what his perceived job was, and
references that could be considered stereotypical of Hispanics' culture
but not supported by literature as Hispanic stereotypes. For this data,
see figures 1 and 2. Out of the 41 questionnaires, there were only 3
There were two different stereotypes looked at in this study: the Hispanic
stereotype and the "What is beautiful is good" stereotype.
However, none of the participants used stereotypes in their perceptions
of the fictitious man. This is known as the floor effect. Due to this
fact, the results did not yield any significant effects for either variable.
Since the results were not significant due to the lack of stereotyping,
it is impossible to know whether there are any differences between how
introverts/extroverts or those with high vs. low self-esteem will perceive
an individual. Although the literature mentioned previously placed both
introverts and extroverts in a position to foster stereotypes, it is
impossible to conclude from this study any differences between the two
when perceiving other people. The results for self-esteem were not conclusive
with the literature on this topic either. Literature has found that
a person's self-esteem does affect how a person will perceive another.
One study (Valentine, 1998) found that men with low self-esteem have
a tendency to oppose women being in the workplace whereas men with high
self-esteem think the opposite.
The most substantial limitation in this study was the picture used
by the participants to fill out the questionnaire. Since no one in the
study stereotyped, it is clear that the picture could be inadequate
in representing the stereotypical Hispanic male. If the picture had
better represented a stereotypical Hispanic male, participants might
have exhibited more stereotypical responses. In other words, if the
man in the picture had looked rougher and less clean cut, perhaps the
participants would have been more inclined to stereotype. The man in
the picture should also have had stronger Hispanic facial features so
the participants would know that he was Hispanic. For further research
in this area, another picture should be used. There was not an even
number of introverts and extroverts in the study. This could have also
interfered with the measurement of the dependent variables.
In the future, researchers could attempt the study again using a more
affective picture to elicit stereotypes from participants. Researchers
could also look at personality in regards to a different stereotype
such as gender roles or a different ethnic stereotype such as Asian
or Native American.
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The Eysenck Extroversion Scale
_______ 1) I tend to keep in the background at social events.
_______ 2) I prefer to work with others rather than alone.
_______ 3) I get embarrassed easily.
_______ 4) I generally tell others how I feel regardless of how they
may take it.
_______ 5) I really try to avoid situations in which I must speak to
_______ 6) I am strongly motivated by the approval or interest of others.
_______ 7) I often daydream.
_______ 8) I find it easy to start conversations with strangers.
_______ 9) I find it difficult to make friends of the opposite sex.
_______ 10) I particularly enjoy meeting people who know their way around
the social scene.
_______ 11) I would rather read a good book or watch television than
go out to a movie.
_______ 12) I would rather work as a salesperson than as a librarian.
_______ 13) I spend a lot of time philosophizing and thinking about
_______ 14) I prefer action to thought and reflection.
_______ 15) I am often uncomfortable in conversations with strangers.
_______ 16) I am mainly interested in activities and ideas that are
_______ 17) I would prefer visiting an art gallery over attending a
_______ 18) I enjoy open competition in sports, games, and school.
_______ 19) I make my decisions by reason more than by impulse or emotion.
_______ 20) I have to admit that I enjoy talking about myself to others.
______ 21) I like to lose myself in my work.
______ 22) I sometimes get into arguments with people I do not know
______ 23) I am very selective about who my friends are.
______ 24) I make decisions quickly and stick to them.
Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale
1= strongly agree 2=agree 3=disagree 4=strongly disagree
1. I feel I am a person of worth, at least on an equal basis with others.
2. I feel that I have a number of good qualities.
3. All in all, I am inclined to feel that I am a failure.
4. I am able to do things as well as most people.
5. I feel I do not have much to be proud of.
6. I take a positive attitude towards myself.
7. On the whole, I am satisfied with myself.
8. I wish I could have more respect for myself.
9. I certainly feel useless at times.
10. At times, I think I am no good at all.