A new study says that if you meet two people-one who is an extrovert and another an introvert-the former is more likely to jump on immediate gratification, while the latter would delay rewards and invest the dough in hopes of a larger payoff down the road.
"These are choices we're encountering all the time. There's a conflict where we have to choose between getting a reward now or delaying gratification to focus on long-term goals," Live Science quoted study researcher Jacob Hirsh, as saying.
The finding makes sense since extroverts have a magnified experience of rewards relative to their inward, shy counterparts.
"It means their brains are wired up to be more responsive to the rewards in their environment," said Hirsh, of the Northwestern University in Illinois.
So if you gave an extrovert and introvert 100 dollars, the outgoing individual would feel better from the cash than the other.
"They like everything in life more," said Hirsh, referring to extroverts.
In the study, Hirsh and his colleagues had 137 undergraduates from the University of Toronto play a game in which they had to choose between receiving various amounts of money now or in the future, with the size of the immediate reward varying from 2 dollars to 20 dollars. The long-term reward ranged from 100 dollars to 1,000 dollars.
The participants were also primed to be in a good or bad mood by playing a game in which a confederate either completed brainteasers faster, or slower than the participant, though there was no official competition.
Results showed extroverts were significantly more likely to prefer the smaller, immediate rewards compared with introverts overall.
When they were in a good mood (when they beat out the confederates), extroverts were even more likely to choose the immediate money. However, regardless of mood, introverts were more likely than extroverts to prefer delayed rewards.
"When people get into an emotionally aroused state they are particularly more focused on immediate gratification and not long-term goals.
"Because extroverts are already sensitive to rewards, when they get into a positive mood it primes this reward system in the brain even more, so they're focused on immediate opportunities," said Hirish.
The findings appeared in the journal Emotion, published by the American Psychological Association.