Do Extrovert Personality Traits Work on A Mission To Mars?


I have some bad news to break to you Extroverts itching to  jump on board the next NASA Mars Mission. You best wait for some Introverts to balance out the equation.   According to an interesting new study reported in Live Science  extrovert personality traits contribute to success but need to be balanced with those of introverts.

The research team of  experts pulled data from previous space missions as well as  mission simulations of a 100 days or more.

Study researcher Suzanne Bell  of DePaul University in Chicago spoke about the plusses and minuses of having Extroverts aboard. She said that the talkative extrovert can really get annoying to the introverts on the flight.

The article described it this way, ” Typically, extroverts — who tend to be sociable, outgoing, energetic and assertive — are good to have on work teams because they speak up and engage in conversations about what needs to be done, which is good for planning, Bell said. And because of their social interactions, extroverts tend to have a good understanding of who knows what on a team (such as who the experts in a certain field are), which helps foster coordination.” 

The researchers said that the extroverts may have a hard time adapting to the lack of stimulation.

“People who are extroverted might have a hard time coping because they want to be doing a lot; they want to be engaged in a lot of things,” said study researcher Shanique Brown, a graduate student in industrial and organizational psychology at DePaul. “And [on these missions], there won’t be that much to do — things become monotonous after a while, and you’re seeing the same people.”

Bell noted that a team of all introverts is also not the solution. The question is, where’s the balance, and once we find the balance, what can we do through training” to promote team compatibility?” she said. 

The article focuses on the pros and cons of extrovert personality traits on board. I can imagine that the introverted personality traits of solitude, careful preparation, focused conversations and a high tolerance for calm are a few of the assets out in space.  I wonder if George Clooney’s fate in Gravity is an example of what happens to Extroverts on their way to Mars?:)





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