Blog: Discrimination related to Personality and Neuro-Diversity

Oct 12, 2022

Discrimination related to Personality and Neuro-Diversity

by Petra Ritter

During the 7th Equal Opportunity Community meeting Petra Ritter presented on the topic “Personality and Neuro-Diversity”.  On the occasion of the upcoming fall school, she started the meeting with highlighting some scenes from the “Picture a Scientist” movie that was recommended by the Equal Opportunity Committee to the ReTune Community in preparation of a dedicated session on “Equal Opportunity” during the school. The movie highlights women scientists and professors who speak about their experience of discrimination throughout their career.

The highlighted scenes were the following:

  1. A demonstration of the Harvard Implicit Association Task impressively showing how decisions are dominated by the brain’s biology that associates certain items through social exposure and resists new associations leading to measurable delays of responses when females are associated with scientific careers in contrast to when males are associated with academic careers.
  2. The subtle forms of female faculty discrimination by ECRs (who are less respectful and evaluate female professors worse) and by institute leadership (who provide female professors less resources (e.g. lab space) and ignore related complaints.

Next, Petra Ritter introduced the main topic of the community meeting, namely “Discrimination related to personality and neuro-diversity”. She presented an article of the Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health with the title “Personality diversity in the workplace: A systematic literature review on introversion” published in 2023 (1). First participants were pointed to personality questionnaires with which they were enabled to assess their own personality type (2,3,4). The presented systematic review searched articles in Medline, Embase, OvidSP, PsycINFO via EBSCOhost for the keywords: “Introversion, extraversion, productivity, innovation, workplace, occupation” in titles and abstracts. 2722 records were identified (+2 via reference lists of these records), 21 studies were included. Most studies had a cross-sectional (n=9) or quasi-experimental (n=8) design. Sample sizes ranged from 16 to 897 participants, median 157. The majority of studies came from the US (n=11), others from Europe (7), China (2), and Australia (1). 57% of studies were more than a decade old, 40% have been published before 1998. The objectives were the following:

  1. Describe and characterize the landscape of evidence defining and evaluating introversion
  2. Determine prevalence of introversion across various groups (e.g. gender identities, occupations, ethnicities, age)
  3. Summarize potential strategies to promote inclusion of introversion
  4. All in context of global workplace

The main findings were the following:

Concerning Objective 1, different approaches of measuring introversion have been identified:

  • 9 studies: Eysenck Personality Inventory Questionnaire (developed 1964-1992)
  • 8 studies: Five factor model (Eastburg et al. 1994)
  • Other studies used:
    • 16 Personality Factor H Questionnaire (Eastburg et al. 1994)
    • Ten Item Personality Inventory (TIPI, Naylor et al. 2013)
    • HEXACO-60 (Ashton & Lee 2009)
    • PROSCAN (Houston & Solomon 1977)
    • Self-rating

Concerning Objective 2, i.e. determining prevalence of introversion:

  • None of the studies estimated prevalence of introversion in the study population
  • Percentage of introverts in two studies were 53%, and 43%.

Concerning Objective 3, i.e. strategies to promote inclusion of introversion, the following findings were reported:

  • No interventional study designs
  • 9 studies showed effects of intervention to recognize or promote inclusion of introverts in workplace
  • 6 studies propose strategies to better accommodate different personality types:
    • Group work structured in collaborative and individual work components
    • Each group member made responsible for and individual subcomponent
    • Collective work at start and end
    • Use high complexity tasks to challenge introverted

Concerning Objective 4, i.e. putting the findings in context of a global workspace, the following results were presented:

  • Those with less emotional stability or self-efficacy could benefit from social support at the workplace (Yao et al. 2018)
  • Personality types are not yet considered as key components of diversity – in contrast to race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability and socioeconomic status, religious and political beliefs.

The following conclusion was drawn by the authors of the article: “Understanding introversion in relation to workplace performance and creativity and how to encourage inclusion of introverts would benefit employers and employees” (1).



  1. Herbert et al. 2023 Personality diversity in the workplace: A systematic literature review on introversion. Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health
  2. Eysenck Personality Questionnaire:
  3. Eysenck, H. J. & Eysenck, S. B. G. (1975).  Manual for the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire.San Diego: Educational and Industrial Testing Service.
  4. Caruso, J. C., Witkiewitz, K., Belcourt-Dittloff, A., & Gottlieb, J. D. (2001). Reliability of scores from the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire: A reliability generalization study. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 61(4), 675-689.


Picture: © MissLunaRose12 / (CC BY-SA 4.0 licensed)