What is Extraversion: Personality Types Explained

by | 13 Apr, 2024

A sun shining brightly over a vibrant landscape

Extraversion is one of the five major traits in the Big Five personality model, often used in psychology to describe and measure human personality. This trait is characterized by outgoingness, high energy, and a propensity towards social interaction. Individuals with high levels of extraversion are often referred to as “extroverts.”

Extroverts are often perceived as outgoing, lively, and sociable. They enjoy being in social situations, are often enthusiastic, action-oriented individuals and are likely to enjoy time spent with people and find less reward in time spent alone. They tend to be energized when around other people, and they are more prone to boredom when they are by themselves.

Understanding Extraversion

Extraversion, as a personality trait, is about more than just socializing. It encompasses a variety of behaviors, attitudes, and reactions that can significantly impact an individual’s interactions with others and their overall perspective on life.

Extroverts are often characterized by a number of common behaviors. They are typically assertive, active, and outgoing. They are comfortable with self-expression, including expressing their thoughts and feelings openly. They also tend to be more involved in the external world and less in their internal world.

Origins of Extraversion

The concept of extraversion was first introduced by Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology. Jung described extraversion as an “outward-turning” of psychic energy. This means that extroverts focus their energy and attention outwardly, towards the world around them.

Later, the trait of extraversion was included in the Five Factor Model (FFM) of personality, which is currently the most widely accepted model for understanding personality. The FFM describes five broad dimensions of personality: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism (often abbreviated as OCEAN).

Characteristics of Extraversion

Extraversion is characterized by a number of specific traits and behaviors. These include assertiveness, sociability, positivity, and a tendency towards action rather than contemplation. Extroverts are often described as being full of life, energy, and positivity.

They are typically comfortable in social situations and may seek out social interaction. This doesn’t mean that extroverts don’t need time alone; they do. However, they generally prefer to spend more time with others than alone.

Extraversion and Personality Types

Extraversion is one of the key components in many personality models, including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The MBTI, based on Jung’s theory of psychological types, uses extraversion (along with three other scales) to categorize individuals into one of 16 personality types.

In the MBTI, extraversion is contrasted with introversion. Individuals who score high on extraversion are classified as extroverted types, while those who score low are classified as introverted types.

Extraversion in the Big Five Model

In the Big Five model, extraversion is one of the five main dimensions of personality. It is associated with characteristics such as outgoingness, sociability, assertiveness, and high energy levels. People who score high on this dimension are often described as extroverted.

However, it’s important to note that like all personality traits, extraversion exists on a continuum. This means that individuals can fall anywhere along the spectrum, from very extroverted to very introverted, with many people falling somewhere in the middle.

Extraversion in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) also includes extraversion as one of its dimensions. In the MBTI, individuals are classified as either Extraverted or Introverted, which forms the first letter of their four-letter personality type.

For example, an individual who is Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking, and Judging would be classified as an ESTJ, while an individual who is Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving would be classified as an INFP.

Practical Examples of Celebrities with this Personality Type

Understanding extraversion can be made easier by looking at examples of famous individuals who display this trait. These examples can provide a more concrete understanding of what extraversion looks like in real life.

One example of a famous extrovert is Oprah Winfrey, a television personality, actress, and entrepreneur. Winfrey’s outgoing personality, comfort with self-expression, and love of interacting with people are all characteristic of extraversion.

Bill Clinton

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton is often cited as an example of an extrovert. Clinton is known for his charisma and his ability to connect with people, both of which are typical characteristics of extroverts.

His outgoing nature and comfort in the spotlight are also indicative of high levels of extraversion. Clinton’s ability to engage with others and his desire to be in social settings are classic signs of an extroverted personality.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple Inc., is another example of an extroverted personality. Jobs was known for his dynamic and charismatic presentations, which showcased his comfort with public speaking and self-expression.

His innovative thinking and desire to push boundaries also align with the extrovert’s preference for action and exploration. Jobs’ ability to inspire and motivate others further illustrates the extrovert’s tendency towards sociability and leadership.


Extraversion is a complex personality trait that encompasses a wide range of behaviors, attitudes, and preferences. Understanding this trait can provide valuable insights into an individual’s personality and how they interact with the world around them.

While extraversion is often associated with outgoingness and sociability, it’s important to remember that like all personality traits, it exists on a spectrum. This means that individuals can display varying degrees of extraversion, and that being an extrovert does not necessarily mean being outgoing and sociable all the time.