A study out of Finland found that middle-aged women exhibiting high extraversion were more likely to over-report their physical activity levels when compared to data collected by an accelerometer. The same discrepancy was not found among older populations or middle-aged women with high neuroticism.

“It is possible that people high in extraversion tend to give socially desirable responses to self-reports,” according to the study authors.

Why It Matters

The study underscores the shaky reliability of self-reported physical activity data and identifies a potential personality-related risk factor that should be explored further. Improving the accuracy of self-reported data would greatly increase the effectiveness of interventions to increase physical activity.

Key Term

Extraversion – Associated with being lively and talkative, gregarious, and excitement-seeking