Comparing Extraversion and Shyness Online Versus Face-to-Face Eulho Jung, John S. Kim, & Mark Snyder University of Minnesota
• Although social interaction on the Internet has become increasingly similar to real-world social interaction, the Internet is still a fundamentally different social environment compared to real life.• This study examines how personality characteristics might differentially influence interactions in these two unique settings. Why Extraversion and Shyness?• Extraverts are better able to express themselves in face-to-face settings, while introverts are better able to express themselves on the Internet (Amichai-Hamburger, Wainapel, & Fox, 2002).• Shy people report more social competence online (Stritzke, Nguyen, & Durkin, 2004).
• This study will ultimately extend these findings by collecting measures on how these individuals are actually judged by others, both on Facebook and in real life.• If extraverted people are more competent in face-to-face settings and shy people are more competent on the Internet, then judgments of these people based on face-to-face interactions and Facebook profiles should reflect this difference. Hypothesis• Shy people should be disliked by interaction partners after a face- to-face interaction, but liked by external raters making judgments based on their Facebook profiles.• We might see the reverse pattern for extraverts.
• 84 college students completed Big Five and shyness scales, plus the extent to which people are getting to know them for “who they really are” on Facebook and in real life.• Then, they engaged in a face-to-face interaction with another participant, after which they judged that person on likability.• They also provided their Facebook profiles, from which their likability was later judged by external raters. Measures• Big Five scale (35 items; Goldberg, 1992)• Shyness Scale (13 items; Cheek & Buss, 1981)
Main findings• After the face-to-face interaction, partners disliked shy people (r = -.27, p < .02) and assumed they were disliked by their peers (r = -.34, p < .01).• After the face-to-face interaction, extraversion did not influence likability (r = .18, p > .10), but partners assumed that extraverted people were liked by their peers (r = .37, p < .01)• Interestingly, external raters also disliked shy people based on their Facebook profiles (r = -.23, p < .05) and assumed that they were disliked by their peers (r = -.36, p < .01).• Extraversion did not influence likability based on Facebook profiles (r = .13, p > .27) but external raters assumed that extraverted people were liked by their peers (r = .28, p < .02) Also…• Extraverts feel like other people are getting to know them for who they are in face-to-face interaction (r = .30, p < .01), while shy people feel the opposite (r = -.25, p < .02)• This pattern disappeared on Facebook (r = .00, p > .98 for extraversion, r = -.09, p > .42 for shyness).• Interestingly, shy people have more public settings on Facebook (r = .25, p < .03), while this was not seen for extraverts (r = -.13, p > .26).
• Extraverts feel more comfortable in face-to-face social settings, while shy people feel less comfortable. However, this difference disappears when it comes to Facebook. Moreover, shy people are more likely to open up their Facebook profiles to the public, reflecting their increased comfort on the Internet.• Contrary to our hypotheses, this increased comfort is not reflected in actual judgments of likability! – On Facebook or face-to-face, people disliked shy people and assumed that they were disliked by their peers. – On Facebook or face-to-face, people assumed that extraverted people were liked by their peers.
• This study has obvious methodological limitations, mainly in that different people provided likability ratings for face-to-face and Facebook. Ideally, the same person would have done both ratings.• Shy people may still benefit from Facebook. However, this benefit may be more self-oriented.
• Amichai-Hamburger, Y., Wainapel, G., & Fox, S. (2002). “On the Internet no one knows I’m an introvert”: Extroversion, neuroticism, and Internet interaction. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 5, 125-128.• Cheek, J.M., & Buss, A.H. (1981). Shyness and sociability. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 41, 330-339.• Goldberg, L. (1992). The development of markers for the Big-Five factor structure. Psychological Assessment, 4, 26-42.• Stritzke, W., Nguyen, A., & Durkin, K. (2004). Shyness and computer-mediated communication: A self-presentational theory perspective. Media Psychology, 6, 1-22.