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Who is in Advantage: Extrovert or Introvert?

Alireza Karbalaei University of Mysore

Abstract. This study explores the relationship between affective variables and listening strategies use. The main objective is to investigate the relationship between extroversion/introversion personality variables and the EFL learners performance on listening strategies. The study was conducted on a group of 101 male and female Iranian EFL learners who participated and answered a Nelson proficiency test. 70 homogeneous subjects responded to Eysenck Personality Questionnaire and based on the result of this questionnaire, the subjects were divided into extroverts and introverts. Listening Strategies Questionnaire was developed to elicit the listening strategies of each group. Finally, to observe whether or not there is any significant difference between the two groups in term of listening strategies use, a case II t-test was carried out. The results show that Extroversion/Introversion personality trait has no significant effect on the EFL learners use of listening strategies.

1. Introduction
Influenced by the findings from humanistic and cognitive psychology, nearly all classroom teachers and language learners and methodologists are willingly looking at how the tasks set for the students can be improved or changed. Here humanistic psychology stresses the importance of self-concept and affective factors in learning, whereas cognitive psychology emphasizes more on the learners mental processes, claiming that the students are involved in the processes of learning such as selective attention to tasks, testing reasoning, comparing, reconstructing meaning, using the prior knowledge, and activating related schema. Moreover, the trends of language teaching have increasingly shifted to the learner-centered approaches since the early 70s, shedding lights on autonomous learners. These approaches emphasize, to a larger extent, on why some learners are more successful than others. Research on what language learners do in learning a language has influenced almost all areas of second and foreign language learning in general and language learning strategies in particular (Prudie and Oliver, 1990). The question of why is it that some learners learn a language faster and easier? has led to some relevant factors such as sex, age, motivation, attitude, and more importantly learning strategies (Oxford, 1990). As he says, it is easy to see

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how learning strategies stimulate the growth of communicative competence in general (p.8).So, in this study learning strategies including listening strategies have been emphasized more among different factors in learning a language. Language learning strategies are commonly described as behaviours, techniques, steps and actions which are especially important for language learning because they are tools for active, self-directed involvement of the language learners (Oxford, 1990). On the other hand, listening comprehension has been a thorny concern for the EFL learners who seem to fail to cope with the listening tasks in most cases. Because weak listeners are not well aware of listening strategies, they mostly depend on their linguistic knowledge and merely resort to the metalinguistic knowledge and learning strategies. When they come across a new structure or unfamiliar vocabulary item, they give up pursuing the message of the passage. Also, they are often unable to process information quickly enough to make sense of what is said. This problem could be due to different factors including cognition and affect. The affective side of language learning has been attracting more and more attention in recent years. Results from studies carried out with undergraduate language learners in the late 1990s into affect in language learning have indicated 'substantial links among affective measures and achievement' (Gardner, Tremblay and Masgoret, 1997: 344) and have highlighted the 'interdependent role that linguistics, cognition and affect play in FL and SL learning' (Yang, 1999: 246).Stern (1983) stated that the affective component contributes at least as much as and often more to language learning than the cognitive skills represented by aptitude assessment. Also, it has been shown that personality traits such as extroversion, assertiveness, emotional stability, adventurousness, and conscientiousness have significant relationships with successful language learning (Reiss, 1983). Oxford and Nyikos (1989) have realized that successful language learners choose strategies to go well with their personalities. On the other hand, the assumption of a relationship between personality type and general learning strategies was studied by Conti and Kolody (1999) for a group of adults from a range of different professional and educational backgrounds. However, the selected sample did not show any significant relationship between the overall personality type and the learning strategy preferences. These findings questioned the assumption that there will be a significant relationship between learning strategies and personality which leads to a motive for providing a sufficient rationale for the current investigation. This paper reviews the literature on Extroversion/Introversion as affective variables and examines the interrelationship between these affective variables, and their links with listening strategies use.

Who is in Advantage: Extrovert or Introvert?


Extroversion/Introversion (E/I) are two extremes of the same personality dimension. Theoretically, introversion, as defined by Brown (1987), is the extent to which a person derives a sense of wholeness and fulfillment from a reflection of this self from other people. Extroversion, on the other hand, is the extent to which a person has a deep-seated need to receive ego enhancement, self-esteem, and a sense of wholeness from other people as opposed to receiving that information within oneself (p.109). According to Eysenck, when someone is observed to be talkative and sociable (the so-called extrovert) he or she can be described as expressive. In contrast, people who are more quiet and private (the so-called introvert) can be described as reserved. Interestingly, because reserved persons tend to hold their fire verbally, they tend to listen carefully to what others say, while expressive persons tend not to listen very well, so eager are they to tell others of what they have on their minds. So, in general, the Expressive are quick to speak and slow to listen, while the Reserved are quick to listen and slow to speak. Of course, everyone is expressive in some degrees, but not in the same degree. Those who are more expressive appear more comfortable around groups of people than they are when alone. On the other hand, those who are more reserved seem to be more comfortable when alone than when in a crowd. Several studies have been carried out to investigate if E/I personality dimension plays any role in the process of language learning. Busch (1982), in the most comprehension study to date on extroversion, examined the relationship of E/I to English proficiency in adult Japanese learners of English in Japan. It was hypothesized that extroverts would be more proficient than introverts. The hypothesis was not supported. In fact, introverts were significantly better than extroverts in their proficiency. A research was done by Wakamoto (2000) on 254 Japanese students learning English as a Foreign Language and realized that extroversion can play a role in employing the learning strategies by language learners. He studied junior college students in an English language course for their learning preferences and counterpart these results with personality types. The data indicated that extroverts used more functional strategies and social-affective strategies in language learning than introverts (p. 73). Extroverts were inclined to pay more attention to meaning rather than form. In addition, extroverts asked more questions in comparison with introverts. Wakamoto (2000) draw this conclusion that extroverts will ask for clarification more willingly than introverts, leading to the improvement of their chances for input essential for developing an interlanguage. Furnham (1990) quotes a study done by Thorne in 1987 which checked the interaction between introverts and extroverts. First, the partners of extroverts and introverts were matched and arranged in conversational situations (p. 77). According to Throne, the conversation they engaged in focused on problem

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talk when introverts were paired with introverts While extroverts with extroverts showed a wide range of topics and more claims of common ground. Taking these results into account, Furnham concludes from this study and other observations that extroverts talk more, and are more impulsive and take more risks with speech than introverts. On the other hand, introverts are more careful with speech and more relied on form: vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. Pazhuhesh (1994) studied the relationship between E/I and reading comprehension. In her study introverts were significantly better than extroverts. Daneshvari (1996) also examined the role of E/I in EFL listening comprehension in Iran. He concluded that extroverts were better listening strategy users in comparison with introverts. This study investigates the role of E/I personality dimension in employing various listening strategies. Therefore, the following hypothesis is formulated: There isnt any significant difference between extroverts and introverts in employing listening strategies.

2. Methods
2.1. Participants
The subjects were 70 male and female students majoring in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and Translation at BA level. They were selected from among 101 students randomly selected from Kashan University. The selection was based on the results of a standard English language proficiency test (Nelson) administered to these students.

2.2. Procedure
Having administered the Nelson test, 70 intermediate students (whose scores were between one standard deviation above and below the mean score) were selected from among 101 students at Kashan University. The allocated time for this test was 35 minutes. The subjects then responded to a Listening Strategies Questionnaire (LSQ) which includes 40 Likert-scale items (see Appendix 1). It consists of 16 listening strategies that include 10 cognitive, 5 metacognitive and 1 socio-affective strategy. Also, to distinguish extroverts from introverts the Escale questionnaire was administered to them. It should be mentioned that, for answering the questions related to the E-scale questionnaire, the subjects should not think deeply over the questions. Immediately following reading the question, they should choose either yes or not.

Who is in Advantage: Extrovert or Introvert?


2.3. Instruments
The following three tests were used as instruments in this study: 1. An English language test of general proficiency (Nelson) including a multiple-choice of 50 items was used in order to have a homogeneous sample group. 2. Extroversion Scale (E-scale) of Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (Persian version) was administered to decide on the psychological trait of the subjects. The EPQ has been translated into many languages, and its cross cultural validity has long been established. Some examples include Hong Kong (S. B. G. Eysenck and Chan, 1982), and Yugoslavia (Lojk, Eysenck, and Eysenck, 1979). It was translated into Persian and then it was modified and revised on the base of feedback from some experienced Persian language teachers of senior and junior high school to check the level of grammar, vocabulary and comprehensibility. Hence, its validity as a personality assessment tool has already been established in the socio-cultural context of Iran by other researchers. Whether a subject is extrovert or introvert can be determined through the administration of this E-scale questionnaire. It should be mentioned that the whole questionnaire out of which the Escale is adopted consists of 57 yes-no questions. Some of these questions are related to N-scale .Whether or not a subject is neurotic is understood through the administration of these questions. Some other questions are related to the L-scale. They show whether or not the subjects answers to the questions are honest. Out of these 57 questions, 24 are related to the E-scale (Extroversion scale).In order for the results to be exact, the whole questionnaire was administered and then the 24 items related to the E-scale were corrected for the purpose of this study. Based on test instructions, male subjects with scores ranging from 13-24 were considered as extrovert and the subjects scored below 13 were considered as introvert. As for female subjects, those whose score were between 14-24 were considered as extroverts and the subjects scored below 14 were considered as introvert. 3. Listening Strategies Questionnaire (LSQ) was developed to elicit the potential listening strategies inherent in the subjects. The model for making such a questionnaire was based on the works of OMalley and Chamot (1990) proven by Wenden (1991) and Rubin ( 1994) and also on Strategy Inventory for Language Learners ( SILL) developed and validated by Oxfrod (1990).Also, there were five ordinal scales in this questionnaire including never, seldom, usually, often, always.

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2.4. Results and Discussion

It was found in this study that there is no significant difference between extroverts and introverts in employing listening strategies. Thus, the hypothesis stating that there is not any significant difference between extroverts and introverts in using listening strategies was accepted. To accept or reject the stated hypothesis, the data were analyzed in the following way. First, the means of the listening strategy questionnaire for extroverts and introverts were calculated. As Table 1 indicates, the mean and standard deviation of the extroverts scores on the LSQ were 137.34 and 19.49, respectively and that of the introverts performance were 134.91 and 18.75. Second, in order to find out whether there is any significant difference between the two groups on LSQ performance, the obtained results of the questionnaire were subjects to a t-test. The results of the t-test are shown in Table 1.
Table 1 The results of the LSQ and T-test between the two groups Extroverts Subjects Means Standard deviation t observed t critical 35 137.34 19.49 ./5 1.980 Introvert 35 134.91 18.75

The t-value obtained from the listening strategy questionnaire was .5 and as it is clear from the t-test table it doesnt exceed the t-critical value at the 0.05 level of significance. Therefore, the stated hypothesis is not rejected and it can be claimed that there isnt any significant difference between the extroverts and introverts in employing listening strategies. In other words, the personality traits, extroversion and introversion, does not make any difference in making use of the listening strategies. The frequency analysis as indicated in Table 2 shows another point of interest in that 54.9 percent of extroverts utilized socio-affective listening strategy whereas only 44.6 percent of introverts used this strategy. Fifty six point six(56.6) percent of extroverts made use of meta-cognitive listening strategies; but 45.9 percent of introverts used these strategies and finally, 54.6 percent of extroverts reported using cognitive strategies whereas 46.4 percent of introverts applied these strategies in their listening. The results indicated that extrovert listeners used a higher percent of strategies than introvert ones in all the variables except in note-taking. However, the difference is not significant.

Who is in Advantage: Extrovert or Introvert?


Among the cognitive strategies, guessing and text-gist were found to be equally the most frequently strategies used by extroverts and introverts whereas clarification was the strategy used the least frequently by both groups of learners. Organization and purpose strategy as a kind of meta-cognitive strategy was used more than other strategies by extroverts and introverts, whereas monitoring was the least strategy used by both groups.
Table 2 The percentage of subjects who used each strategy Cognitive strategies Repetition Clarification Note-taking Deductive Reasoning Recombination Contextualization Guessing Inferencing Memorization Text-gist Metacognitive Strategies Monitoring Organization and Purpose Background Knowledge Planning Evaluation Socio-affective Strategies Socio-affective Extroverts 41.5 18.1 52.9 50 54.3 68.6 74.3 58.1 54.3 74.3 45.8 67.2 64.3 47.7 58.1 Introverts 35.8 17.2 55.8 41.5 48.6 51.5 60 55.3 38.6 60 25.8 61.5 50 42.9 49.6



3. Conclusion
It was found in this study that language learning strategies in general and listening strategies in particular cannot account for some of the differences between introverts and extroverts. In other words, there is no statistically significant difference between the extroverts and introverts in the use of listening strategies. Both groups of learners made use of listening strategies in an almost similar way in different situations. The result supports the findings of Naiman, Frohlich and Stern (Gardner and Clment, 1990) determined that both types of learners had equal opportunities for achievement, and that language teachers should address the needs of both personality types. Among the cognitive strategies, the strategy used by the least number of both groups was clarification strategy. It refers to asking some general questions

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about the listening text from the teacher. When both groups used the least percent of clarification strategy, it indicates that neither extroverts nor introverts have enough self-reliance in order to ask some general questions about the texts from the teacher. As Oxford and Crookall (1989) mention, language learning strategies research is a double-edged sword. It has provided us with a lot of information about how learners struggle with learning (worst case) or help themselves learn (best case). Besides, a critical point is that little is known about how to help learners become more self-reliant. Also, among the meta-cognitive listening strategies, the least strategy used by both extroverts and introverts was monitoring. This strategy refers to practicing the listening skill overtly or to seek out the best solution for the problems (see the Appendix). So, the results indicated that both groups especially introverts practice less listening skill by listening to the tape or movie and they cannot find the best solution for their listening problems. In general, if we look at the table of frequency analysis, we find that almost half of both extroverts and introverts have not made use of listening strategies while listening. The important point which must be taken into account is that neither introverts nor introverts were well aware or familiar with the listening strategies. So, learning the strategies which are of paramount importance must be considered by both learners and teachers. In our formal academic settings, unfortunately, listening skill has been overtly overlooked. So, it is incumbent upon teachers to rejuvenate that skill via paying a close attention to it by firstly introducing the listening strategies to their students and then, making them aware of the fact that without resorting to listening strategies, they have to make greater effort to learn the language. In other words, strategy training, which is mostly carried out by the teacher, implies students aware not only of how they are to complete a task but also of why the teacher has them to do certain activities. In this study, it was found being extrovert or introvert does not influence the students use of different listening strategies. So, the teacher should not consider these personality dimensions as a variable that influences the students use of listening strategies while teaching these strategies to the learners. i.e. the teacher can teach these strategies in a similar way.

Alison, M., and Susan, M. G. 2005. Second language research : Methodology and design. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Anderson, N. J. 1991. Individual differences in strategy use in second language reading and testing. Modern Language Journal, 75 (4), pp, 460-472. Brown, H. D. 1987. Principles of language learning and teaching (2nd ed). USA: Prentice- Hall Regent.

Who is in Advantage: Extrovert or Introvert?


Brown, H. D. 2001. Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy 2nd ed. White Plains, NY: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc. Brown, H. D. 2007. Principles of language learning and teaching (5th ed).USA: Pearson Education, Inc. Busch, D. 1982. Introversion-Extroversion and the EFL proficiency of Japanese students. Language Learning, 32 : 109-32. Chastain, K. 1988. Developing second language skills: Theory to practice. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, Inc. Cohen, A. 1990. Language Learning : Insights for Learners, Teachers and Researchers. New York, Newbury House. Conti, G. J., and Kolody, R. C. 1999. The relationship of learning strategy preference and personality type. Paper presented at the Annual Adult Education Research Conference, Northern Illinois University. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED431901). Retrieved Oct 9, 2002, from E*subscribe/ERIC Reproduction Service database. Daneshvari, R. 1996. Extroversion / Introversion and Listening comprehension. Masters thesis, Tehran University, Iran. Ehrman and Oxford. 1989. Effects of sex differences, career choice and psychological type on adult language learning strategies. Modern Language Journal, 73, pp. 1-12. Eysenck, H. J. 1990. Biological dimensions of personality. In L.A. Pervin (Ed.). Handbook of personality: Theory and research (pp.244-276). New York: Guilford. Eysenck, H. J. and Eysenck, S. B. G. 1975. Manual of Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (Junior and Adult). London: Hodder and Stoughton. Eysenck, S. B. G., and Chan, J. 1982. A comparative study of personality in adults and children: Hong Kong VS England. Personality and Individual Differences, 3(2), 153 160. Furnham, A. 1990. Language and Personality. In Howard Giles and W. Peter Robinson Eds. Handbook of Language and Social Psychology. (pp. 73-95). New York: John Wiley and Sons Ltd. Gardner, R.C. and Richard C. 1990. Social Psychological Perspectives on Second Language Acquisition. In Howard Giles and W. Peter Robinson Eds. Handbook of Language and Social Psychology. (pp.495-517). New York: John Wiley and Sons Ltd. Gardner, R., P. Tremblay and A-M. Masgoret. 1997. Towards a full model of second language learning: an empirical investigation. The Modern Language Journal, 81, (iii): 344-362. Lojk, L., Eysenck, S.B.G., and Eysenck, H. J. 1979. National differences in personality: Yugoslavia and England. British Journal of Psychology, 70(3), 381387. OMalley, J. and Chamot, A.1990. Learning Strategies in Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge University Press. OMalley, J., Chamot, A. and Kupper, L. 1989. Listening Comprehension Strategies in Second Language Acquisition. Applied Linguistics, 10/4, pp: 418-437. Oxford, R. 1990. Language learning strategies: What every teacher should know. New York: NY: Newbury House. Oxford, R. and Crookall, D. 1989. Research on Language Learning Strategies: Methods, Finding and Instructional Issues. Modern Language Journal, 73, pp. 404-415.

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Oxford, R. L., and Nyikos, M. 1989. Variables affecting choice of language learning strategies by university students. Modern Language Journal, 73(3), 291300. Pazhuhesh, P. 1994. The role of extroversion/introversion in EFL reading comprehension. Masters thesis. University of Tehran, Iran. Purdie, N. and Oliver, R. 1999. Language learning strategies used by bilingual schoolaged children, System 2, pp: 375-388. Reiss, M. A. 1983. Helping the Unsuccessful Language Learner. Canadian Modern Language Review, 39(2), 257266. Rubin, J. 1994. A Review of second language listening comprehension research. Modern Language Journal, 78, pp. 199-217. Stern, H. H. 1983. Fundamental Concept of Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Wakamoto, N. 2000. Language Learning Strategy and Personality Variables: Focusing on Extroversion and Introversion. IRAL: International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 38 (1), 71-81. Wenden, A. 1991. Learner Strategies for Language Autonomy. York College, NJ, Prentice-Hall. Yang, N. D. 1999. The relationship between EFL learners beliefs and learning strategy use. System, 27, 515-535.

Appendix 1 Listening Strategies Questionnaire 1. I try to overtly practice the listening. 2. Before accomplishing the listening task, I ask some general questions from the teacher. 3. I write down the main idea, important points, outlines, or summary of the information presently orally. 4. I use key words to infer the meaning. 5. I distinguish relevant from irrelevant clues from determining meanings. 6. I relate new information to other concepts in memory. 7. I try to identify my problems in listening task. 8. I seek out the best solution for the problems. 9. After applying the guesses, I correct the potentially wrong guesses. 10. I repeat the names of items or objects to be remembered. 11. I use information in the listening text to guess meaning of new linguistic items and to predict outcomes. 12. I try to take note from the very important points. 13. While listening, I group information and words. 14. I guess what the word or phrase might mean based on the context. 15. When listening, if I dont understand something, I listen closely to the next segment to see if it provides additional information.

Who is in Advantage: Extrovert or Introvert?


16. When I lose my concentration, I try to recover my concentration right away. 17. If I face a difficult part, I wont give up trying to comprehend the passage. 18. I try to get the overall meaning of the text. 19. I dont focus on understanding the meaning of each word. 20. I relate the text to what I already know about the topic. 21. I remember specific words to look up later in the dictionary. 22. I try to understand the type of text I am listening to. 23. While listening, I keep meanings in mind. 24. I use context, especially preceding and succeeding sentence. 25. I pay attention to the title. 26. Facing unknown words, I analyze them. 27. I know when I lose my concentration and try to gain full concentration. 28. If my attention is affected by fatigue, I know how to overcome it. 29. I listen for whole sentences. 30. Never do I listen for exact words. (I put them together and figure them out more or less). 31. I do my best to utilize the background knowledge. 32. I try to ask myself questions about the listening text. 33. I elicit from my teacher additional explanation, rephrasing, or examples. 34. I know how to reduce anxiety about a listening task. 35. I check comprehension after completion of a listening language. 36. I evaluate my guesses. 37. I decide in advance to attend in general to the listening task and to ignore irrelevant distracters. 38. I decide in advance to attend to the specific aspects of listening input. 39. I try to understand the conditions that help me learn and to arrange for the presence of those conditions. 40. I do my best to check the outcomes of answering by using the prior knowledge or by using the contextual clues.