Recently there has been a renewed focus on differences between extroverts and introverts, fueled in large part by the popularity of Susan Cain’s “Quiet”. Much of the discourse on introverts vs. extroverts has focused on the workplace and relationships. Which personality type makes a better leader? Which personality type makes a better partner?

But what about the impact of personality type on taking surveys? When conducting research, any target audience will be a blend of introverts and extroverts. Understanding how different personality types tend to process information and respond to questions is key to developing a successful research program.

Introverts and extroverts vary in both their behavior and the values they hold. Introverts tend to be quiet and private, while extroverts tend to be talkative and outgoing. Introverts make up roughly one-third to one-half of the population, with extroverts making up the rest. However, it is important to remember that introverts and extroverts exist on a spectrum.

Recent research published by the Association of Consumer Research evaluated the impact of personality differences on product and brand tracking surveys. Researchers found key differences between extroverts and introverts.

Extroverts are attracted to rewards and tend the see their environment from a more positive perspective. Introverts, on the other hand, avoid risk and pay more attention to the negative aspects of their environment. Introverts are motivated by avoiding costs while extroverts are motivated by gaining rewards. Due to these motivational differences, introverts tend to perceive their environment in a more negative light.

As a result, extrovert respondents tend to evaluate products and brands in brand tracking studies in a more positive light than introvert respondents. Extroverts also crave stimulation and this extends to their survey-taking experience. Surveys that incorporate gamification and emphasize rewards will keep extroverts engaged. Extroverts also respond more favorably an interactive survey experience that makes them feel like part of a community. Introverts are more likely to retreat to a quiet place and will respond better to surveys designed to give them space to think and reflect before answering. Introverts will respond favorably to surveys without time constraints that provide a simple, straightforward experience.