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Arousal/Matthews: There is (…) growing evidence that subjective energetic arousal relates to superior performance on demanding sustained and selective attention tasks just as the theory predicts (Matthews, Davies and Lees 1990(1); Warm, Mathews and Finomore 2008(2)).
Arousal/personality traits/Matthews: Evaluation of the hypothesized role of personality is more difficult because both Extraversion and trait anxiety operate in concert with other variables: arousal factors in the case of Extraversion, and motivational factors in the case of anxiety. High impulsives (similar to extraverts) are hypothesized to be lower in arousal in the early part of the day (the theory aims to accommodate time of day effects). It follows that Extraversion should be negatively correlated with attentionally demanding tasks, such as vigilance, but positively correlated with short-term memory.
There is indeed considerable evidence that Extraversion relates to poorer vigilance (Beauducel, Brocke and Leue 2006(3); Koelega 1992(4)), and to superior recall on traditional, verbal short-term memory tasks (e.g., Eysenck 1981(5); Matthews 1992(6)).
1. Matthews, G., Davies, D. R. and Lees, J. L. 1990. Arousal, Extraversion, and individual differences inresource availability, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 59: 150–68
2. Warm, J. S., Matthews, G. and Finomore, V. S. 2008. Workload and stress in sustained attention, in P. A. Hancock and J. L. Szalma (eds.), Performance under stress, pp. 115–41. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing
3. Beauducel, A., Brocke, B. and Leue, A. 2006. Energetical bases of Extraversion: effort, arousal, EEG, and performance, International Journal of Psychophysiology 62: 212–23
4. Koelega, H. S. 1992. Extraversion and vigilance performance: 30 years of inconsistencies, Psychological Bulletin 112: 239–58
5. Eysenck, M. W. 1981. Learning, memory and personality, in H. J. Eysenck (ed.), A model for personality. Berlin: Springer
6. Matthews, G. 1992. Extraversion, in A. P. Smith and D. M. Jones (eds.), Handbook of human performance, vol. III, State and trait, pp. 95–126. London: Academic Press
Gerald Matthews, „ Personality and performance: cognitive processes and models“, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009. The Cambridge handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press_____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Philip J. Corr
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009