Thursday, September 24, 2009

Another look at extraversion: I took another approach to measuring racial and ethnic differences in extraversion by looking for GSS behavioral questions. Respondents were asked how often they: 1) visit neighbors, 2) visit friends outside of the neighborhood, and 3) go to a bar. Answers varied from "almost every night" (1) to "never" (7).

These items were all positively correlated with each other, but Cronbach's alpha is only .45. I summed them together to create an introversion score and limited the analysis to those ages 30-49 out of concern that the groups might have different average ages and that going out, especially to bars, is influenced by age. Fortunately, the sample size is large (N = 9,528).

Introversion score

White 13.80
Black 13.91
Mexican 14.84*
Chinese 14.79*
Filipino 14.57
American Indian 15.04*

*p < .05, two-tail test, compared with whites.

Consistent with the earlier analysis, blacks and white do not differ, but Mexican Americans are significantly more introverted. The large sample size allowed me to look at other minority groups, and you can see that Chinese Americans and American Indians are less outgoing. The difference between whites and Filipinos fell just short of statistical significance. I went ahead and calculated the effect sizes too:

Effect size

Mexican .30
Chinese .29
Filipino .22
American Indian .36

These numbers indicate small to moderate ethnic/racial differences. Keep in mind that broad heritability for extraversion is around 0.5.


  1. Anonymous6:49 AM

    American Indians (throughout most of the Western Hemisphere) are a very introverted group; I can tell you from first hand experience.
    So it should be even less surprising that Mex-Ams are relatively introverted; besides DNA and physical appearance, this kind of reinforces the concept that Mex-Ams (who mostly descend from Mexico's underclass) are basically "Hispanicized Indians"

  2. Anonymous7:12 AM

    Another thing that might increase the introversion score of American Indians is the fact that bars aren't allowed on many reservations. Hence the "going out to bars" scores will be quite low.


    I've heard that many of the most Indian-looking "Mexican" immigrants are actually Central American.


  3. Anonymous7:39 AM

    Anon@6:49 again:

    "I've heard that many of the most Indian-looking "Mexican" immigrants are actually Central American"

    Not really, but yes, a good majority of Central Americans are significantly more Indian than Spanish. Though southern Mexico and its rural areas are heavily Indian, much more than the metro areas or northern Mexico (which is more of a balanced white-Indian mix).
    It's known that in the U.S., the poorer population is darker than average; well, the same goes for Latin America --- but it's just that U.S. Americans don't deal with that white portion of Latin Americans often. Also, whites in Latin America are at a much smaller percentage (except in Argentina and Uruguay).

  4. Jay Fink4:14 AM

    I enjoy looking at pictures of Latin women at Two things jump out when I see the upscale clubs and functions in Mexico. First I notice the lighter features the people have compared to the mexican immigrants in the U.S. I also find the lack of machismo in the Mexican men interesting. They do not embrace hypermasculinity like many Mexican-American men do. I suppose this is a function of social class.

    Getting back to introversion, I wonder if this is a reason I find so many Latin and Asian women appealing? At my local Wal-Mart the customer base is about 50% Hispanic and 50% lower class white. The Hispanic women are clearly more introverted. They tend to be quiet, classy, and feminine. The white trash women tend to be loud and crude.

    I once dated an American Indian girl. She was a major alcoholic. But she did not like going to bars or to socialize. She liked to drink alone at home. That's just a sample size of one but there is no doubt she's an introvert.


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