Check out the two pictures below. If you had to choose one place to go on holiday, where would you go: the beach or the mountains?
If you said the beach, you’re in the majority. More people pick the beach than the mountains. And since it’s August, you may be dreaming of a dip in the ocean. But beyond the summer heat, your choice may depend on your personality.
According to a new study from psychologists at the University of Virginia, introverts and extroverts prefer different landscapes for their vacations, and they may even seek out different environments for a home.
Psychologists have long known that extroverts tend to enjoy arousing situations, even choosing to study in noisier environments, while introverts seek calmer, quieter environments. Past research has shown that extroverts have a greater need for “affiliation” – being with and conversing with others – and “exhibition” – getting attention from and amusing other people. Introverts need substantially less of these things.
Psychologists have examined how well people fit into various companies, colleges, and even countries based on their introversion or extroversion. We know now that introverts function better in specific office spaces, where there are fewer visual and audio distractions, whereas extroverts are perfectly happy in a buzzing, busy café or office.
However, most of the research on extroversion has focused on social situations – being alone or being at a party – rather than physical surroundings. No study has looked at extroversion and introversion in connection with natural environments, the University of Virginia researchers say.
Through a series of five experiments, the researchers showed that people who are more extroverted prefer wide-open spaces, including the beach, while introverts are drawn toward the woods and mountains.
The mountains and woods are great places for solitude and self-reflection, while beaches can be a lot noisier and offer a lot more potential for partying and people watching.