A few posts back I wrote about the relationship between personality and being anti-mask and pro-mask. It was just an observation I made from personal experience, hadn't read anything about it previously, but apparently I am not the first to have made this observation.
There have been several scholarly research studies published online since the pandemic started, analyzing the connection between how a person scores on the Big Five Personality test, and how likely they are to be for or against wearing masks, social distancing, and sheltering in place. I'll add some links later, probably in another post, with some added commentary.
In my blog post about the subject I focused on conscientiousness being the most important factor in determining whether a person is more likely or less likely to be in favor of wearing a mask, but I left out the equally important factor of how high a person scores on extroversion.
I believe those are the two primary Big Five personality factors that are most likely to influence how a person responds to Covid-19 mitigation strategies, and whether they choose to heed the advice of epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists, or choose to ignore them in favor of the more shortsighted hedonistic, extreme libertarian viewpoint, who is going to party whether you like it or not, and if you don't you can fuck off.
Well, that's not very conscientious, is it?
The data is in, and this is what has been found to be true:
People who score low in extroversion and high on conscientiousness are more likely to support mask wearing, social distancing, and sheltering in place, and not only that, they will actually thrive under those conditions, too.
On the other side of the coin, people who score high on extroversion and low on conscientiousness will have the biggest problem with mask wearing, social distancing, and sheltering in place. It's not just that they have a problem with it, but limiting social contact is actually more likely to adversely affect there mental health over time, simply because the entire fabric of their existence is so inextricably linked to being with people, seeing their faces, breathing the same air, and having close personal contact, talking, touching, and sharing the same space.
These are the people flooding the bars and the beaches of Florida and elsewhere, the wild and crazy Spring break super spreaders, who would rather die, or even risk killing grandma, then be forced to wear a mask and to stay home alone and to miss going to another Covid super spreader party. Because to them there is no life if there is no party. It's all about people, and the idea of minimizing contact with people is just unthinkable to them.
Those people make me sick. Those are the people I live around. Those are the people I fruitlessly complain about more than I should. Those people are what I would call the ugly American: loud, obnoxious, selfish, and stupid.
It is what it is. Most people are extroverts. Not all extroverts are assholes, but most assholes are extroverts. We live in an extroverted world, a world that usually looks down upon introverts as either being shy or autistic, or just generally having something wrong with them.
I myself am an introvert. I'm not shy and I don't think I'm autistic, whether there is something wrong with me is debatable but I feel fine, but there's probably some people that think I am, and they are most likely extroverts. I can sometimes be very talkative and sociable, I also don't live alone, so I'm not completely isolated, but usually I find people to be draining to be around for any extended period of time. It is absolutely vital to my mental health to have some alone time, especially after socializing with people, and to me the worst living situation I could think of would be to live communally in a large household of people, such as a prison or an army barracks, because the thought of not having any personal space and living in close proximity to a lot of people would be hell.
Introverts are not necessarily anti-social, but they just need some personal space and some peace and quiet.
Extroverts are the complete opposite to that, they love noise, and crave social stimulation, they thrive around people, and the more the merrier.
So extroversion is a very important factor when looking at how personality shapes a persons response to Covid-19 mitigation strategies, such as mask wearing, social distancing, and sheltering in place. But conscientiousness may be even more important, because it's the primary personality trait that will override all others, causing an extrovert to modify their behavior, to be less sociable, to wear a mask in public and to socially distance when appropriate, if it serves the greater good of slowing the spread of disease and protecting the public health.