#AskMargie: Introverts-extroverts (part 2)
MANILA, Philippines – In this second installment of a four-part series on introverts and extroverts, Dr. Margie Holmes looks to slay a few myths about the personality types of introverts and extroverts.
Many of you pointed out myths as myths:
Tanya Garcia: Introverts are mistaken as insecure and awkward people who cannot hold a conversation. That is so far from the truth, most of the introverts I know are intelligent and very aware of what's happening around them.
Jojie Tiongco: I think introverts here are not unnecessarily disadvantaged.
Geruel Rivadeneira: Are introverts happy being introverts? As an extrovert, I always thought that introverts lead a boring life.
- Misconception, which proves a study that states that introverts have figured out extroverts whereas many extroverts do not really understand what introverts are like.
I also promised to share the more scientific basis for dividing people into the 2 personality types but first, let me share two ways a layman can tell whether one is an introvert or an extrovert:
- how you like your music
- where you sit in the library (or, I guess, one can generalize to where you choose to sit at a restaurant)
The extrovert likes loud music, the introvert much softer.
The extrovert likes to sit near the entrance (or the exit if it’s not one and the same); whereas unlike the extrovert who likes to be where there’s a lot of people he can say hi and bye to and interact with as they enter or leave, the introvert likes to sit in a cubicle (when in a library) or at the far corner of the room (when at a restaurant).
And these two layman’s clues tie up with the research which I will share shortly. But first, let me share what Carl Jung, who coined the terms “extrovert,” “introvert” and ambivert said, that introverts aren’t necessarily shy or insecure—nor are extroverts necessarily empathic or loving.
The distinction between the two, Jung wrote, lies mainly in the fact that introverts get exhausted by social interaction, while extroverts get anxious when left alone. Introverts need solitude in order to recharge, while extroverts draw energy from socializing.
OR, as anonymous says: I find for every moment/ length of time I spend socializing for my job, I need a factor of “times 3” to get back to normal. People tire me out.
Carl Jung says: Majority of people are ambiverts, NOT because they are sometimes extro-and sometimes intro-. That is a myth. The majority of people are ambiverts because they lie in the “middle”, or under the bell curve, rather than on the extreme ends of the pole when it comes to processing info or to having a sensitive nervous system.
Last week, I quoted Lex Bonife who said: Introverts are just different. We have a different way of processing stimulus.
And he’s absolutely right. A 2012 study by Harvard psychologist Randy Buckner found that introverts tend to have larger and thicker gray matter in areas of the brain associated with abstract thought and decision-making, which hints that introverts tend to devote more neural resources to abstract pondering, while extroverts tend to live in the moment.
In other words, while extroverts have feelings of reward with their immediate environment, introverts tend to associate with their inner thoughts.
Which fits into another study eons ago, which shows that introverts have a much more sensitive nervous system than extroverts do. Thus, when an introvert starts to find a party too loud and upsetting (music turned up, people dancing on tables) he isn’t being a party pooper or “KJ,” it is just that all that stimuli is impacting negatively to his more sensitive nervous system. On the other hand, an extrovert needs more stimulation because one could even say, he’s “manhid” the stimuli has to reach a certain level much higher than that of an introvert’s-- before it makes an impact on him.
Of course I was just joking when I used the word “manhid.” I feel it’s ok to joke this way to “balance” the myth that introverts are “worse” than extroverts.