Boise Highlights

Introvert or Extrovert: Which Are You?

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Most people lie in the middle of the “Ambivert Scale,” a mix of introvert and extrovert.

Most people lie in the middle of the “Ambivert Scale,” a mix of introvert and extrovert.

Photo Credit: Veronika.dobi

Photo Credit: Veronika.dobi

Most people lie in the middle of the “Ambivert Scale,” a mix of introvert and extrovert.

Callie Rice, Reporter

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Humans are social beings by nature. We tend to crave connection with others; reach a mutual understanding through our words, actions, and passions. We are a society built on civil interaction.

At the start of the 20th century, Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung introduced the terms “introvert” and “extravert.” (now spelled extrovert) His theories suggest that introverts are more introspective – keeping to themselves, adopting a quiet demeanor – and extroverts prefer directing their attention to their external environment – immersing themselves in the company of other people.

Extreme introverts can be seen as antisocial, or having a dislike of people because they’d rather stay at home than attend social events. But that’s not the case at all. Introverts love being alone, and simply prefer smaller interactions, as they do not have to fight in order to be heard. They also enjoy sharing more personal conversations reflecting on fascinating experiences, current events, and society.

On the flip side, extreme extroverts might give off an attention seeking aura, seemingly always talking and never listening. Again, merely a misconception. Extroverts desire social  interaction. They gain energy from the people they interact with, and enjoy knowing what’s going on around them. Although extroverts prefer being social, they still need their alone time.

While these standards hold true in some cases, it’s important to note that most lie in the middle of what is called the “ambivert spectrum;” a balance of introvert and extrovert.

History teacher Scott Looney considers himself very extroverted, a big “people person.” Despite growing up more introverted, having five siblings and gradually putting himself “out there” made Looney realize how much he loved talking to people. “However, I really do have some moments where I tend to be introverted and need to have my “own” time away from people and crowds.” Looney said. This includes writing, watching tv, and taking trips to McCall and the Oregon coast.

Furthermore, there also lies a physiological factor that contributes to determining our introvert or extrovert tendencies. Psychologist Hans Eysenck proposed that the arousal level, or how attentive our brains are to stimulation, is higher in the brain of an introvert’s than an extrovert’s, meaning an introvert’s brain is naturally more active.

Additionally, the dopamine pathway is longer in an extrovert’s brain than that of an introvert’s. This means extroverts have a lower sensitivity to outside activity, and need more stimulation in order to reach a satisfied state. Whereas an introvert can easily be overstimulated from the same amount of activity.

Admittedly, the concept of introverts and extroverts will never fully encompass the extent of a person’s personality: People are not meant to fit in boxes.

“I think the best advice to give, whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, is to understand that people are not going to be ‘LIKE’ you and that’s completely fine. Make adjustments and learn from others, that’s one of the beauties of life: we can learn from each other without ‘BEING’ the same,” said Mr. Looney.

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Introvert or Extrovert: Which Are You?