The Misconceptions Of Introversion

Introversion is usually incorrectly associated with being socially inept and extremely shy. This is a complete misconception as introverts have the ability to be socially engaging and confident. However, they are more likely to tire of social interactions and fold inwards at regular intervals.

Introverts tend to be more concerned with their inner world and internal reflections. They commonly find inspiration from within their minds, rather than on interactions with other people — which is one of the characteristics of an extravert, among many others. After spending time with a large group of people or attending a relatively huge party, introverts often yearn for time alone to recharge themselves.

This is due to the makeup of the introvert’s brain. As mentioned in Susan Cain’s book (“Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking”), introverts generally need less social stimulation than extraverts due to their high sensitivity with regards to external stimulus (i.e. socialization). Introverts’ brains are focused on acetylcholine, while extraverts are focused more on dopamine and adrenaline, with introverts having more blood flow in their brain, using a longer pathway to process input.

This does not necessarily equate to introversion correlating with low social skills, but rather their internal meter for external stimulus not set too high. In other words, when an introvert is exposed to highly concentrated doses of external stimulus, their social need to engage with others is met quickly, thus the need to retreat quickly arises. The opposite is true for extraverts.

Due to preconceived notions society has that links success with extraversion, many introverts have expertly camouflaged themselves to fit into society’s expectations. Statistically, extraverts also outnumber introverts by a ratio of 3-to-1. Despite these odds, introversion is a strength as individuals high in this tend to be more thoughtful and less brash when it comes to decision making, which is a huge advantage all on its own.

Some common characteristics of introverts are as follows:

  • Introspective
  • Reflective
  • High in intrapersonal intelligence
  • Thoughtful
  • Ideas can feel solid
  • More comfortable being alone
  • Quiet and reserved when among unfamiliar people or in larger groups
  • Prefers smaller groups over large, boisterous ones
  • More sociable with people more familiar
  • There is a tendency to take longer reflecting and over-think situations, rather than moving quickly into action
  • Enjoys understanding minute details
  • Learns well through observing

All in all, the misconceptions on introversion are grounded purely on assumptions, as can be pointed out from what has been mentioned above. Shyness, which is also closely associated with introversion, is an altogether different matter that concerns itself with an individual’s behaviour when with others.

The difference between introversion and extraversion is ultimately about the tendencies of where individuals choose to focus their energies towards; inward or outward.