The Internet has been a natural part of our everyday lives for several years now. It’s always there to help us when we want to communicate over distance, shop, search for information or just pass time with games and socializing. A new study for the national SOM Institute, based on a representative sample of the Swedish population, shows that it is primarily extroverted people who use the Internet rather than introverted people.

Recent technological advances have enabled constant Internet access, leading to major changes in our Internet usage. A new study of 1694 Swedes conducted between September 2014 and February 2015 has looked closer at how psychological personality plays into frequency of Internet use and the activities engaged in.
John Magnus Roos, PhD in Psychology, researcher at the Center for Consumer Science at Gothenburg University and design psychologist at Veryday, is the author of the study.

The study shows that, contrary to what most people think, it’s not introverted people who use the Internet the most. We have actually been able to conclude that the more open and extroverted you are as a person, the more you use different digital services.

John Magnus Roos, PhD, Design Psychologist at Veryday

Researches have previously disagreed in this area, as earlier research has claimed that introverts prefer the Internet as it allows them to be more anonymous and avoid physical contact. However, there has been a change in behavior recently and extroverted people have now become the most frequent users of the Internet, probably because it has become home to more and more social activities. The study shows that extroverted people mainly use e-mail services, social media, read blogs and purchase goods and services.

The study shows that there is no evidence to suggest that frequent use of the Internet leads to loneliness – but evidence does suggest that frequent use may make people more anxious and nervous. For example, the study shows that people who engage in blog reading and social media on a daily basis have a tendency to find more faults in others and tend to be more nervous than others.

We can see that the pendulum has now swung to the other side. Perhaps we need to take a step back and think about why certain groups use the Internet less, so that we don’t miss any quiet potential users in our technological advances.

John Magnus Roos

The Internet is not Introverted

Given that the Internet today is used largely by people with more open and creative characteristics and who quickly perceive, understand and take advantage of new usage areas, the challenge is to get more reserved people to become interested and want to integrate with the services that are offered online.

Thomas Nilsson, Director of Design Research at Veryday

The innovation and design agency Veryday has over a long period of time worked with development and innovation that includes all types of users in the design process. With the help of research into Internet usage in relation to personality type they hope to create services that are inclusive to all types of needs in the future.

Read the SOM Institute’s report, “Fragment”, as a PDF here. You can see a presentation of the study at the European Congress of Psychology in Milan, on July 9th: