The Creative Personality: Both Extroverted and Introverted

The Creative Personality: Both Extroverted and Introverted: ”

“I think I’m a weird combination of deeply introverted and very daring. I can feel both those things working.”

Helen Hunt

Characteristics of creative people noted by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, based on his research, include this:

“Creative people tend to be both extroverted and introverted. We’re usually one or the other, either preferring to be in the thick of crowds or sitting on the sidelines and observing the passing show.”

He adds, “In fact, in current psychological research, extroversion and introversion are considered the most stable personality traits that differentiate people from each other and that can be reliably measured. Creative individuals, on the other hand, seem to exhibit both traits simultaneously.”


I’m not sure what he means by “simultaneously” – maybe it’s more a matter of different traits are prominent at different times. And I don’t think it is necessarily true that people in general are simply “one or the other” – people are often complex and not easily or accurately classified as strictly one or the other trait. Especially creative individuals, as Csikszentmihalyi notes.

Quote of Helen Hunt from LA Times 9/10/2000. Photo from her movie “Then She Found Me” – in addition to acting in a lead role, she was also Director, Writer (screenplay) and Producer.

Cognitive Psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D. is a co-author (with James C. Kaufman) of The Psychology of Creative Writing.