The quality of social relationships is one of the most important factors of our well-being. Two personality traits that are associated with higher levels of well-being - extraversion and agreeableness - are also linked to relationship satisfaction. Extraverts are often characterised as outgoing and assertive, whereas agreeable people as likeable and responsive to others.
Past research examined the effects of these traits in relationships. However, because extraversion and agreeableness are correlated, it is not clear whether both traits contribute to relationship satisfaction, or whether their effects are interlinked. Are extraverts satisfied with their relationships because they tend to be agreeable? Or are agreeable people satisfied because they tend to be extraverted?
To answer these questions, we speak with Assistant Professor of Psychology William Tov from SMU’s School of Social Sciences. Professor Tov is a psychologist who studies emotional and cognitive well-being, from the micro-level process of everyday happiness to the macro-level implications of societal life satisfaction. He is particularly intrigued by the process by which everyday experiences accumulate, are summarised, and ultimately contribute to our overall happiness and life satisfaction.