How to know if you tend towards introversion or extraversion
Nice people, cheeky, shy, social ... They are adjectives that we often use when talking about the social dimension of people. However, many of these concepts are not only found in popular knowledge: science has also taken care of studying them.
One of the most interesting topics is the relationship between introversion and extraversion , as well as the study of its biological bases.
The precedent: analyzing introversion and extraversion
Carl Jung was the first author to work with the concepts of introversion and extraversion in a systematic way. In his book Psychologische Typen (Psychological Types), Jung talks about two types of attitudes that define the person: one whose interests are focused outside and the sphere of the social, and those oriented towards private sphere . They are, respectively, the psychological types of extraversion and introversion. In addition, Jung draws a parallel between introversion and the archetype of the Apollonian (introspection, rationality, moderation) while the psychological type of extraversion corresponds to the Dionysian (the disorder, the search for the new and the interest in the world of sensations).
It seems evident that Jung tried to emphasize the relationship of incompatibility and mutual exclusion between these two categories. These are expressively antagonistic attitudes that not only affect our way of relating to others, but go beyond and talk about our way of dealing with others. relate to the world , about our way of inhabiting reality.
The Eysenck theory
The German psychologist Hans Eysenck He was another of the scholars to address the issue, although he stuck to the scientific method, although working from a category very similar to Jung. Eysenck talked about personality, paying special attention to the biological bases and genetics of the human being, that which is not learned through experience, but which is expressed through our way of adapting to the environment. Therefore, it raises the introversion-extraversion relationship as a dimension of the temperament present in all people and that is defined from the physiology by levels of excitation and inhibition (the denial of excitement) before the stimuli that we live. The high or low levels of excitation can be measured by indicators such as sweating, electrical conductivity of the skin and reading of brain waves.
According to this theory, then, and although it may seem confusing, theIntrovert lives in a permanent state of excitement or "nervousness", and that is why the stimuli that he experiences leave a greater psychological imprint on him, while people Extroverts have "assigned" a state of relative chronic inhibition of brain activity , and its reaction to stimuli is less. From these tendencies, which in some way would be programmed in the genes of each person, the human being seeks to balance these levels of activity in their interaction with the environment.
Someone whose brain activation is relatively low (because of inhibition in this internal environment) is concerned with acting for excitement, and this is achieved by participating in socially demanding activities (talking to a large group of people, for example) and looking for new situations that require to be alert . Therefore, extroverted people have been defined as prone to boredom. Someone in need for exciting situations might be upset if he experiences only personal relationships based on repetition and everyday life.
On the other hand, according to Eysenck, someone who is introverted is because he already lives in a permanent alertness, although not in the sense of being very focused on what happens around them voluntarily, since it is an involuntary propensity and it does not depend on where attention is being focused at each moment. Simply, the introvert is more sensitive to what happens around him, and that sensitivity is biological. As excitement predominates in his internal environment, he tends to inhibit himself socially: he acts rather avoiding experiences that raise his level of activity even more, looking for more stable or predictable environments and, although he is sociable in that he can enjoy relationships with others. others as well as extroverts, these relationships are characterized by not being very socially demanding (the idea can be expressed with the phrase "I need my own space").
As we have seen, although shyness and introversion may seem the same, it really is a superficial similarity.Shyness refers more to a state of mind that can be explained as a learned behavior by estimating that the relationship with others can have negative consequences, whereas introversion is a biological disposition that goes far beyond our relationships with others. the rest. Despite this, it is still a matter of investigation if the brain excitation patterns are due only to the genetic load.
The data given so far are indicative and may be useful for oneself to reflect on their own tendencies towards introversion or extraversion. However, also there are tests and descriptive models of the personality that contemplate these two extremes. Some of the best known are the model of the Big Five, the 16PF or the original PEN model of Eysenck, although the effectiveness of these is subject to continuous debate.
The importance of context
Finally, you can not lose sight of the contextual factor . On the one hand, the different levels of significance that we assign to different contexts means that in each of them we behave differently. Someone whom we can consider introverted, for example, can become very comfortable speaking in public if he understands that doing so is a way of verbalizing and putting in order some thoughts that he has been organizing in his mind, and more if he is dealing with an issue that he thinks he dominates. In the same way, it is absurd to think that extroverted people positively value all situations that require a state of alert, above any "ordinary" situation. Drawing a line that separates introversion and extraversion may be practical in the academic sphere, but reality always goes beyond any category.
After all, the search for excitation / inhibition balance is another way of individual adaptation to the environment , and the latter, patrimony of all of us, is precisely that: the ability to act in a non-stereotyped way, using creative strategies to pursue an objective and solve problems. No label will say as much about people as its ability to be unpredictable.