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A study finds that introverts have higher self-esteem when they think that the future is out of their control.

In a recent study, researchers looked at how introverts and extroverts responded to being given a fatalistic time perspective. Results showed that self-esteem of introverts increased after fatalistic time perspective was induced i. e. , after they were put in a situation in which they saw the future as beyond human control. The same procedure had no effect on extroverts. The study was published in the the Journal of General Psychology.

On the other hand, having high self-esteem, or believing that one is a valuable human being, is linked to a number of favorable outcomes, including better adjustment, happy feelings, a sense of fulfillment, and a better use of opportunities for achieving positive outcomes. Magorzata Sobol from the University of Lublin in Poland and her colleagues ran an experiment on 104 Polish adults, whose average age was 47, because they hypothesized that there might be a relationship between self-esteem and time perspective that is dependent on personality traits. The Neo-Five Factor Inventory results were used to select participants, and those scoring particularly low or highly on extroversion were chosen to participate (i. e. both extroverts and introverts). Extraversion is a personality trait that makes people more likely to enjoy socializing with many friends and larger groups of people than they do with themselves or a small group of friends (introverts).

Participants were split into extraverts and introverts groups based on the results of the personality test. Participants were randomly assigned to either the neutral condition or the fatalistic time perspective induction condition in each group. A description of a person with a pronounced fatalistic perspective was given to participants assigned to the fatalistic perspective induction condition, and they were instructed to try to imagine themselves in that person’s shoes. They were instructed to picture themselves in the circumstances of the person being questioned because doing so will make it easier for them to respond to questions about that person. Participants in the neutral condition received a similar description and instructions, but the person described did not have the fatalistic time perspective. The fatalistic time perspective induction procedure had little effect on extroverts, but worked well on introverts, according to a manipulation check done after the procedure. Comparatively to introverts who underwent the neutral conditions, those who underwent this procedure had a clearly higher level of fatalistic perspective. Extroverts who underwent the two experimental conditions showed no discernible difference.

Following the procedure, participants completed the SES (Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale). According to the findings, introverts who underwent the fatalistic time perspective induction condition had significantly higher self-esteem than all other groups. It was higher than the self-esteem of extroverts who underwent the fatalistic time perspective induction condition and of both extroverts and introverts who underwent the neutral condition.

“It turned out that the induction of fatalistic perspective increased the level of self-esteem in introverts, whereas in extraverts it had no influence on self-esteem,”


“A possible explanation for the lack of effect of the induction on extraverts’ self-esteem may be that extraverts had difficulties empathizing with the person depicted in the vignette, while introverts may not have had such difficulties. The lack of effect in extraverts can also be explained by the fact that extraverts have a strong sense of control over time and therefore a temporary feeling of not being in control of the future does not affect them.”


The research, titled “Destiny or Control of One’s Future? Fatalistic Time Perspective and Self-Esteem in Extraverts and Introverts,” was conducted by Magorzata Sobol, Aneta Przepiórka, Micha Meisner, and Peter Kuppens. Info: Destiny or control of one’s future? Fatalistic time perspective and self-esteem in extraverts and introverts: The Journal of General Psychology: Vol 149, No 4 ( Link: Study site

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