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Are Extrovert Wives More Satisfied In Their Marriages?

Are Extrovert Wives More Satisfied In Their Marriages?

Straight up, the answer is Yes. Because, excuse the jaded phrase, the research says so.

To understand the research findings, first you need to know what makes introverts and extroverts different? It’s my personal take that there are no pure-blood ambiverts. Ambiverts are actually introverts who learned extroverted ways to navigate through an extroverted world. So, while they are as raucous extroverts by the world, deep down they are just “quiet” introverts. Introverts and extroverts do not live at the extreme ends of the personality scale. There are always some shades of gray.

What Makes Extroverts Different From Introverts?

The Extrovert

Most of those you know may be extroverts and there is a high probability that you’re one.

Extroverts talk more, they laugh more, they surprise us more often. Extroverts are more friendly, enthusiastic, thrill-seeking, and act-now-think-later (instant gratification) types. They open up to people more easily, and you often find them talking to you about what’s going on in their minds. You will rarely find them sitting or doing things alone. People are their life-blood. The outer world is their breath-air.

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Did you know that extroverts are happier than introverts, and this effect stretches over decades?

The Introvert

And the introverts, you know them too. That wallflower friend of yours, yes. That kid in your class who’s always lost in thoughts, yes. That guy who enters the party late and slips out early unnoticed, yes. Often described as a private person, yes.

You see them poring over their mobile screens with way too much fascination. Up close, you find that they’re usually not chatting with their online friends. Rather, they are reading something or playing a brain game. They just don’t make the small talk. In fact, what irritates them to no end is meaningless conversations.

How Do They Differ

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It’s the wiring in their brains. In 1997, the British psychologist Hans Eysenck said the main reason for the differences between introverts and extroverts is in how their brains get aroused.

Introvert brains get aroused without much effort. By nature, they process more information per second. Now, one’s brain can process only finite chunks of information over a certain time. So, when there is too much noise to process, the introverts become overwhelmed. Once that happens, they tend to shut out the outside world and seek out time alone – to focus inwardsThe extroverts, however, don’t spark up fast. They have to reach out for stimulating environments to arouse themselves. They thrive in situations where there is a lot of stimuli – voices, music, chatter. It makes them feel home. Because their brains process less amounts of external data per second. So they need loads of stimuli from their surroundings – to feel alive.

The Lemon Juice Experiment

A famous lemon juice experiment in 1964 showed that an introvert salivates more than an extrovert when their tongue gets a few drops of lemon juice. Psychologists concluded introverts get more aroused with the same load of stimuli than extroverts. Find out more on how the brains of introverts differ from those of extroverts.

Let’s jump back to our primary question:

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Do Extroverted Women Have More Satisfying Marriages?

This is a recent research coming out of Iran. Four psychologists from two universities came together to publish their findings in May 2016. They gathered 92 married working women from Shiraz welfare organization. The participants had no history of divorce or separation, and aged between 25 to 45 years. To remove any bias, the researchers chose them at random.

The Research

The psychologists Somayeh Tahmasebi, Baratali Maleki, Masumeh Rezayi Aval, Fereshte Tahmasebi gave them a long test, with 4 sets of questions.

  1. The first, Demographic set, asked them about their age, salary, education, years of marriage, and number of children.
  2. The second set was the ENRICH (Evaluating & Nurturing Relationship Issues, Communication, Happiness) inventory. This is an exhaustive set of 125 questions on 14 different scales – as marital satisfaction, financial issues, personality, sexual relationships, friends and relatives, conflict solving, and others. The ENRICH can differentiate between the happy married couples and the unhappy ones with an accuracy of 85-95%. If you want to find out how satisfied you’re in your marriages, you could take the ENRICH/PREPARE online assessment.
  3. The third set was Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ) with 57 questions. The EPQ measures the extroversion/introversion and neuroticism/stability aspects of personality. It also has a lie-detector scale. What is neuroticism? It is emotionality, or emotional instability. Neurotic people are quick to get nervous or upset under pressure. They are also less happy in their relationships.
  4. The fourth set was the Ahvaz Perfectionism Scale, of 27 questions. They included this because perfectionism is one of the factors that contributes to marriage satisfaction (this study).

The Results

They found “there is a significant positive relationship between extrovert personality and marital satisfaction of women employees.” You may read it as – the more extroverted a working woman, the higher her satisfaction in a marriage. And the less extroverted an employed woman, the lower her chances of marital happiness.

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They are not the only ones to reach this conclusion. Another study coming out of Iran concluded that the extrovert personality trait can predict marital satisfaction (Ata Shakerian, 2011). Yet another study from Iran, published in The Arab Journal of Psychiatry, emphasizes that “personality traits (extroversion included) are still the most important factor in determining marital adjustment” (Aysun Ghaemian, Javad Gholami, 2010).

Final Words

Adjustment in marriage is actually an exercise of extroversion that is played out by the two partners. If two people in a marriage do not talk or share their interests with each other, how much happiness can there be in that bond? And when conflicts happen, as it will, do you think it would help if they were to sulk and stay silent out of their extrovert nature? In a way, extroversion is what keeps the couple going well. Just think of that.

Featured photo credit: easyweddings.com.au via easyweddings.com.au

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Sandip Roy

Medical Doctor

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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