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Introvert or Extrovert: What Your Personality Says About Your Health

Do you rapidly get involved in the social life of a new workplace? Do you feel better based on the number of people you talk to? Is it easy for you to...

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|Dec 15|magazine7 min read

Do you rapidly get involved in the social life of a new workplace?

Do you feel better based on the number of people you talk to?

Is it easy for you to communicate in social situations?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, congratulations, you’re an extrovert. And if you’re an extrovert, you have a stronger immune system than your introvert counterparts, at least according to new evidence discovered by scientists.

A team of health psychologists at the University of Nottingham and the University of California, Los Angeles, carried out a study to examine the relationship between certain personality traits and the expression of genes that can affect an individual’s health.

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An ethnically diverse group of 121 healthy men and women were asked to complete a personality test to determine whether they were “extroverts” or “introverts” and how conscientious they were.

Blood samples were then taken to analyze the activity of white blood cells.

“Our results indicated that ‘extraversion’ was significantly associated with an increased expression of pro-inflammatory genes and that ‘conscientiousness’ was linked to a reduced expression of pro-inflammatory genes,” said Professor Kativa Vedhara from the University of Nottingham. “In other words, individuals who we would expect to be exposed to more infections as a result of their socially orientated nature appear to have immune systems that we would expect can deal with infection.”

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The study’s findings, published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, suggest that even though extroverts are typically exposed to more infections as a result of being involved in more social activities, their immune systems appear to be more effective in response to infections.

Scientists say they currently have no explanation for why personality traits may be linked to immune system function.

The research concluded that although biological mechanisms of these associations need to be explored in future research, this new data may shed light on the long-observed epidemiological associations between personality, physical health and human longevity. 

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