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Are You An Introvert? Here is How Your Personality Can Influence Your Voice Under Stress

Did you know that the roots of personality type theories, such as the more holistic approach of the Temperament model, go all the way back to Hippocrates in the 4th century BC? But personality type studies in the last few decades have focused more on singular traits, like introversion and extraversion, or a group of traits, like the Big Five.

And apparently, introversion or extraversion can also influence your voice and perceived vocal effort in stressful situations — like performing. Keep reading to learn how.

A rodent touching its nose to a child's nose

"Why are you so quiet?" is a phrase introverts (including myself) are painfully familiar with. They are always feeling like the odd one in social situations, while simultaneously trying to act more extraverted, outgoing, gregarious or expressive.

If you are an introvert, chances are you are already aware of this fact. And you probably resonated with the above paragraph.

According to The Myers-Briggs Company, introverts make up 56.8% of the entire population. Yet, 9 out of 10 have reported feeling pressured to behave in an extraverted way.

Studies on the link between personality and voice go way back. The earliest one I could find with a quick literature search was from 1939 (1). Clinicians have also considered a potential link between muscle tension dysphonia (a voice disorder without an apparent, physiological cause) and personality traits in the more recent years (2).

A "trait theory" was even proposed to explain voice disorders, where a person's position on the introversion-extraversion scale can affect which vocal fold pathologies they might be prone to (3). Apparently, vocal fold lesion are seen more in those with high extraversion and muscle tension dysphonia more in those with high introversion.

So a study has looked into vocal function in introverts and extraverts during a stressful situation, which was public speaking. And they noticed numerous differences between these personality traits and vocal performance.

Let's see what they found.

Introversion vs. Extraversion

Even though these terms are usually used for social contexts — like how much of a "people person" you are they are actually about how much extern