Does color preference or choice really predict whether someone is of the introverted or extroverted personality type? This article looks into some of the science and research that has been done which backs up this theory.

Cortical Arousal

Studies and experiments in neuroscience have suggested that there is a difference in the cortical arousal of introverts and extroverts. Cortical arousal is about how much information our brains take in at any given moment from our sensory inputs, for example, visual, audio and our sense of smell. So the way external stimulation is absorbed by the brain. External stimulation also includes environments, patterns, light intensity and colors.

The research suggests that extroverts have low cortical arousal and introverts have high cortical arousal. This cortical arousal results in either high or low stimulation, and this stimulation can alter mood/emotions, concentration and our activity/energy levels.

So extroverts basically require more stimulation from the outside world to maintain their energy. However this same level of outward activity could prove too much for the introvert, over stimulating the area of the brain (cerebral cortex) that deals with sensory input. This would lead to the introvert being drained of energy in certain environments; this includes busy or crowded places, noisy environments, bright lights and even bright colors. Introverts in a sense will begin to shut down in those high stimulation environments.

With this information in mind it makes logical sense that extroverts often prefer brighter and stronger colors such as Red, Orange and Yellow, because they seek out that outside stimulation. Due to the introverts tendency to be over stimulated, they tilt towards the cooler and darker colors, such as Blue, Green and Purple. For the same reason introverts are more likely to prefer the color Black and more neutral colors like Gray. Introverts are also more likely to be distracted by brighter colors.

It isn’t just the individual colors themselves; color intensity is also a factor. The two colors, Cyan and Chartreuse would be good examples to use here. These are blue and green, so cooler colors, however they’re very bright and high intensity variations of those colors. They may provide too much stimulation for many introverts, especially being subjected to those colors in large doses. Cyan for example has been linked to causing trouble with sleep, due to over stimulation.

It was psychologist Hans Eysenck which linked cortical arousal to the personality traits of introversion and extroversion.

Fashion & Trends  

Psychologist Carl Jung first popularized the personality dimension of introvert and extrovert. The way he explained the differences was either an inward or outward focus. Extroverts have a more outward focus, they are more naturally in tune with social status, which means they are influenced more by fashion, and current trends in general. This means their color preferences will be influenced by the current trends. Introverts are less likely to be influenced by what is popular due to their inward focus, so their color preferences will originate from their internal inner workings.

Attention Seeking

Colors can also be used to gain attention from others which could indicate extroversion and social confidence. Someone wearing red for example would likely mean they had no problem with attention, and may even be seeking it, they’re likely extroverted. Someone wearing black may suggest they wish to be unseen, and values privacy; these are characteristics more common with introverts.

Final Thoughts

There is evidence and research which suggests connections between color preferences and the personality traits of introversion and extroversion. However the extrovert/introvert trait is only one of the main dimensions of personality. The priority and dominance of personality traits will differ depending on the individual, and also the current circumstances and state of mind of an individual will also influence preferences.

So basically, due to the complexity of people we shouldn’t jump to conclusions too quickly.


Does color preference really predict extroversion.

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