An extrovert is “a person concerned primarily with their physical and social environment (as opposed to the introvert)”. To define the extroverted personality, it is necessary to look at personality traits in general. While many people fall into the category of introvert or extrovert, others lie somewhere in between. Extroversion is something that many young people strive for because they feel like it is the only way to fit in with their peers.
Introverted vs Extroverted
Some people are distinctly introverted, and others who are extroverted. Introverts are generally quiet and reserved, as opposed to extroverts who are generally boisterous and bold. While introverts prefer to be alone, extroverts love being around other people and can actually become unhappy and even restless if they aren’t around many people on a daily basis.
Extroverts often do well working in occupations such as sales, management, journalism and business. This is due to the fact that they feed off of the energy of others. They are also generally more comfortable communicating with other people in both professional and personal situations than introverts are. Taking charge of a situation is not only something they are comfortable with, they usually prefer it to anyone else taking charge instead.
Though many people see being an extrovert as a better option than being an introvert, there are downsides to it. While extroverts are great in social situations, they also have such a strong desire to be around other people that when they are alone for any lengthy period of time they often become unhappy and even lethargic. An extrovert will turn to their mobile phone to communicate with others when they are by themselves. This can cause problems for an extrovert who has a job that requires them to perform work independently.
Personality clashes often occur between extroverted people, something that doesn’t apply to introverts as much. Since extroverts like being the center of attention, it can be hard for them to share the spotlight with others. This can cause problems in work and personal situations. It can also make it hard for them to maintain friendships as well as romantic relationships.
The Extroverted Personality
Those with an extroverted personality are usually described as:
- lively and active.
In general, extroverts are more interested in participating in outdoor activities than indoor ones. They are more focused on the present than they are on the future. Extroverts usually have more energy than their introverted counterparts as well.
Part of the debate of introverted versus extroverted personalities is how they have different senses of intuition. This is a subject that was studied extensively by Carl Jung. He determined that extroverted intuition is both less intense and more expansive than introverted intuition. This is why Jung believes that extroverts have a shorter attention span than introverts. Extroverts understand and process thoughts more fluidly than their introvert counterparts. For this reason, they have a particular interest in historical studies because these studies are conducted in a fluid manner that is easy for them to understand.
Jung’s view is that introverts are often more focused than their extroverted counterparts. They are seen as intense people who dive deep into the subject matters that fascinate them the most. Whereas extroverts prefer topics they can study fluidly, introverts are said to prefer to study topics with more static concepts. This explains one of the fundamental differences between introverts and extroverts.
Behavior of an Introvert or Extrovert
There are distinct differences between the behavior of those who are introverted and the behavior of those who are extroverted. For example, when it comes to problem solving, introverts prefer to process information an in internal manner while extroverts think out loud and verbally process information. Where extroverts like to discuss their ideas with others, introverts prefer to have ideas worked out in their head before they say a word to anyone else about them.
Decision making is a process that introverts and extroverts approach differently. While extroverts like to seek the opinions of others when making a decision, introverts prefer to make decisions on their own and reflect on the possible outcomes.
In many ways, both introverts and extroverts are often misunderstood. Extroverts run the risk of having those around them think that they are self-centered and don’t care about others. Introverts often come across as being mean, when in fact they are just not entirely comfortable with interactions with anyone they do not know extremely well. Most introverts are seen as shy; in some cases this is true, and in other cases it is not.
Theories and Research
People aren’t just extroverted or introverted by chance. Research shows that a person’s genetic makeup has a lot to do with it. Both personality types are linked to the ways in which individuals get their energy. An introvert will find that being around other people drains them of their energy, while extroverts drain their energy when they are not around other people.
Hans Eyseneck, in the 1960s, shared his theory that extroverts experience different arousal rates. He believed that extroverts have an arousal state that is lower than that of introverts. This means that it is generally much easier for introverts to become aroused than for extroverts. This is why those who are extroverted tend to prefer high energy activities they can participate in with other people.
Since they become aroused much easier, introverts shy away from high energy activities that involve other people. External stimulation affects introverts much more than it does extroverts.
Research has also determined that those who are introverted have different brains than those who are extroverted. When an extrovert takes a risk and it pays off, their brain responds to it stronger than the brain of an introvert would. The difference in a person’s dopamine level is part of what makes them an introvert or an extrovert. In the brain of an extroverted person, their dopamine levels makes them prone to taking risks in life and enjoying experiencing unexpected situations. As the amygdala in a person’s brain is what helps them process their emotions, this part of the brain is what allows extroverts to feel the rush they get from participating in something stimulating.
In the same situation an introvert would likely feel overwhelmed. The majority of the research done on this topic has found that the way in which a person processes stimuli determines if they are an introvert or an extrovert. When extroverts process stimuli, they do so more quickly than introverts. When an extrovert experiences a stimulus, the process is done in the part of their brain that also controls auditory and visual processes as well as their senses of touch and taste. On the other hand, processing stimuli in the introvert’s brain occurs in the part of the brain responsible for problem solving and remembering facts and details.
While it is true that some people are either extroverted or introverted, most people have characteristics of both personality types. These people are referred to as ambiverts. They can have tendencies possessed by both introverts and extroverts. People with this personality type sometimes prefer to spend time with others but will find that after a while they feel drained. They also enjoy being alone, but often only for a short amount of time. For an ambivert, the best way to recharge is to act like an extrovert at times and an introvert at other times. Those who are ambiverts often perform better in certain jobs than those who are clearly either an extrovert or introvert.
When a person asks themselves “am I introverted or extroverted” they need to take into consideration many factors in order to reach a satisfactory answer. Introverted people often feel like they are being shunned by society as extroverted people are generally portrayed in a better light. The truth is that the world is made up of people of all different personality types, and with a little bit of acceptance and tolerance we could all live in harmony.