People feel more authentic when acting extroverted

Updated: Apr 17

It would stand to reason that people feel more like themselves when acting in accordance with their core personality traits. But, studies show that irrespective of dispositions, people report feeling more authentic when they are enacting higher levels of state extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and emotional stability.

People experience more positive affect (cheerfulness, pride, enthusiasm, energy, and joy) when acting extroverted. Also, we seem to use positive affect as an indicator for authenticity - “I feel good, therefore I must be authentic”. A study by Joshua Wilt et al. investigated whether positive affect (PA) mediated this connection between extroversion and authenticity.

The researchers measured extraversion, positive affect and subjective authenticity in participants to test whether momentary (state) levels of PA mediate the relation between extraverted states and authenticity states (N = 205). They also experimentally manipulated extraverted behavior in (cheerfulness, pride, enthusiasm, energy, and joy) participants to test the hypothesis.

The experiments revealed a direct effect from extraverted behavior to PA and from PA to authenticity. This translation was found to be partially mediated by PA. Read more about the study here.