My inquiry question: Introvert or extrovert?
Or to be specific, is being introverted or extroverted better?
My first round of research will be the definition of the vocabulary introvert and extrovert. So what exactly are an introvert and an extrovert?
The Oxford definition says an introvert is a quiet person who is more interested in their own thoughts and feelings than in spending time with other people. And an extrovert is a lively and confident person who enjoys being with other people. (1)
These two personality types are opposites, introverts focus inward, into their own thoughts, and extroverts focus outward, into the world. Introverts are mostly concerned with what’s going on inside their own heads, so an introvert is a quiet person who likes people but doesn’t feel the need to go to parties every night. In fact, nightly parties would be decidedly un-fun for an introvert. Introverts are often but not always shy. (2)
In 1920, these characteristics were named by the psychologist Carl Jung. He said the differences between these personality types are essentially down to energy. Extroverted people often receive energy through social interactions, while introverts need some alone time to recharge. But nobody is entirely one or the other; introverts enjoy special occasions, too, and extroverts will do a quiet activity somewhere from time to time. What is clear is that some people are more on one end of the scale than the other. Introverts have a lot of characteristics that make them stimulated; extroverts don’t have as many. This is why introverts tend to avoid crowded places or deadlines (things that are likely to put pressure on them) because they already have pressure within themselves. Extroverts don’t have enough of these arousal characteristics. So to complete things or have a good time, they need to feel like they are ready for action and seek out places where there’s pressure. Another theory says that it’s all about reward systems, discussed in a paper from 1970. It suggests that extrovert brains are more sensitive to rewards, like making someone laugh in social interaction. Introverts don’t seek out these rewards. Other studies have shown how extroverts pay more attention to human faces than introverts, and how introverts have a higher level of brain function in regions associated with learning, vigilance, and motor control. There are many ways the brains of introverts and extroverts are different. Some studies show differences in behavior. For example, extroverts talk more abstractly and introverts more concretely, and extroverts have an advantage with speaking and reading a new language, while introverts are better at listening to it. Also, extroverts are more likely to take risks and wear more decorative clothing. (3)
Common introvert traits:
-Enjoy spending time in solitude.
-Don’t prefer to be the center of attention.
-Value close one-on-one relationships.
-Think before they speak/not as talkative.
-Need time alone to recharge and reflect.
-Prefer working in quiet, independent environments.
-Deeply focus and think about specific interests.
-Can be seen as reserved. (4)
Common extrovert traits:
-Have large social networks.
-Enjoy being the center of attention.
-Tend to think out loud.
-Make quick decisions.
-Gain energy from being around other people.
-Outgoing, enthusiastic, and positive.
-Thrive in team-oriented and open work settings. (4)
All these articles have somewhat the same definitions.
This is it for my first round of research! I hope you have a full understanding of these definitions. My next two research rounds will be answering more specific questions such as: Does this affect the way we talk to people? How does society take in introverts and extroverts? What is an ambivert? And what’s better?
I have always been curious about the topic you selected. Regardless of whether someone is extroverted or introverted, every type of person is valuable in society. Despite this, both popular understanding and current psychological usage differ. On the other hand, these topics are usually discussed by people who have studied them and believe that everyone has an introverted and extroverted side.
Congrats on your research and best wishes 🙂
As I commented on your last post, I find your inquiry question very interesting. I can tell you did a lot of research for this post. I like how you compared both personality types and added a list of traits for each. Your post was very interesting to read and I’m looking forward to your next blog post!
Hey Kiara, great post! This topic is super interesting, as it’s such a relevant and common topic of conversation. Like many people, I find myself not to be an introvert, nor an extrovert, but a mix of the two (leaning towards extrovert). While I can very easily make friends and don’t have a hard time starting a conversation with virtually anyone, I enjoy spending time in solitude. However, as you have noted, the characteristics of introverts and extroverts are generalizations and do not apply to every introvert/extrovert. Good work!